The City of Chicago today announced it will begin the autumn bridge lifts on Saturday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m. Following the kickoff, bridges along the main and south branches of the Chicago River will be lifted sequentially on a twice weekly schedule, Saturdays and Wednesdays, to allow sailboats and other recreational boats to make their annual trip from the open waters of Lake Michigan to their winter storage facilities. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) oversees these bridge lifts each year, in the spring and fall seasons.
“As this new season begins, CDOT is ready to help sailors move their boats from the Lake to their winter storage yards,” said CDOT Acting Commissioner Tom Carney, who also serves as Chicago’s Harbor Master and has jurisdiction over the city’s waterways. “CDOT works with local boat storage yards to create a schedule that accommodates boaters while minimizing the impact on downtown street traffic.”
During these “boat runs,” the bridges are typically raised one at a time, with each bridge lift taking an average of 8-12 minutes. While the bridge is in the upright position, traffic is halted, and drivers may use alternate streets or wait until the bridge is lowered. A list of affected streets, from Lake Shore Drive to the end of the South Branch is below.
Due to ongoing work happening on Lake Shore Drive, the bridge lift of Lake Shore Drive Bridge will have longer than usual delays. CDOT is urging motorists planning to drive on Lake Shore Drive around 9:00 am on Saturdays and 9:30 am on Wednesdays to re-route in order to avoid delays, as the bridge closure could last 45 minutes or longer.
A total of 27 bridges will be lifted in succession from Lake Shore Drive to Ashland Avenue Bridge on the south branch of the Chicago River. In the event that no boat owners have made arrangements to move their boats on a scheduled day, the bridges will not be lifted.
The streets affected by the bridge lifts are: Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Dr., Michigan Ave., Wabash Ave., State St., Dearborn St., Clark St., La Salle St., Wells St., Franklin St., Lake St., Randolph St., Washington St., Madison St., Monroe St., Adams St., Jackson Blvd., Van Buren St., Congress Pkwy., Harrison St., Roosevelt Rd., 18th St., Canal St., Cermak Ave., Halsted St., Loomis Ave., and Ashland Ave.
B-roll opportunity is available along main branch of Chicago River – approx. 9:40 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at State Street and the River.
The Fall 2019 bridge lift schedule is as follows: (Printable calendar)
Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 25 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, 9 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m.
The full schedule and a comprehensive list of streets impacted by the autumn bridge lifts can be found at www.chicagodot.org.