Chicago River Bridge Lifts Mark Start Of 2016 Boating Season

April 15, 2016

27 Bridges to be lifted from Ashland Avenue to Lake Shore Drive

Mike Claffey     312.744.0707 |

Susan Hofer    312.742-2006 |

Photo of Bridge Lift
The City of Chicago will begin the springtime bridge lifts this Saturday morning, allowing recreational boat traffic to move from boat storage yards to harbors across Lake Michigan. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will begin lifting the movable bridges over the south and main branches of the Chicago River Chicago River so that sail boats and other pleasure craft can safely and easily move into summer docking locations up and down the shoreline.

Each year, in the spring and fall, CDOT raises the movable bridges along the Main and South Branches of the Chicago River on a twice weekly schedule on Saturdays and Wednesdays to accommodate recreational boats traveling to and from their storage yards.

“The springtime lifting of Chicago’s iconic movable river bridges marks the beginning of the boating season each year and is a welcome sight for Chicagoans,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, who also serves as Chicago’s Harbor Master and has jurisdiction over the city’s waterways.  “CDOT works with local boat storage yards each year to create a schedule that accommodates boats while causing the least amount of impact on downtown street traffic.”

During these “boat runs,” the bridges are raised sequentially, typically one at a time.  Each bridge lift takes an average of 8-12 minutes.  A total of 27 bridges will be lifted in succession from the Ashland Avenue Bridge on the South Branch to Lake Shore Drive.

The Spring 2016 bridge lift schedule is as follows:


  • Saturday, April 16 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, April 20 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, April 23 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, May 4 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, May 7 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, May 11 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, May 14 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, May 18 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, May 21 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, May 25 at 9:30 am
  • Wednesday, June 1 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, June 4 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, June 8 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, June 11 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, June 15 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, June 18 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, June 22 at 9:30 am
  • Saturday, June 25 at 8 am
  • Wednesday, June 29 at 9:30 am


You can follow CDOT on digital media:
Twitter:  @ChicagoDOT
The web:

News Release Facts