• City of Chicago
  • The three parts of the proposed section of path

Yesterday afternoon, the Chicago Plan Commission approved an overpass for the Lakefront Trail that should ease congestion near Navy Pier. Just south of the pier, the path is currently routed along a sidewalk next to the busy lower level of the Lake Shore Drive bridge over the Chicago River, and is a nightmare to bike on because it’s usually jammed with pedestrians, cyclists, and in-line skaters. The section immediately north of the pier, while not a sidewalk, isn’t much better. The bridge—which is being called the Navy Pier Flyover—will connect to the existing path just north of Grand and south of the the Chicago River, bypassing busy street crossings at Grand and Illinois, and (with any luck) helping avoid the bottleneck that occurs on the path there. The full proposal (with bigger versions of the images in this post) can be seen here.

According to Blair Kamin, reporting for the Tribune, estimated construction costs range from $40 to $45 million, of which about $34 million in federal and state funds has been secured. Kamin also reports that the first phase of the project could begin as early as spring 2012, and the entire thing is projected to take about six years. After the jump, more plans and images of the proposed overpass.