Chicago River bridges scheduled to open for boat traffic this weekend

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Bridges along the Chicago River, including the Wells Street, seen here in May of 2012, will soon be on the rise again to allow sailboats to head back to Lake Michigan. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Starting this weekend, the 27 bridges along the Chicago River will start to open to allow for boat traffic to return to Lake Michigan for the spring and summer season. Bridges will not be in use, however, as the second phase of the Wells Street bridge rehab takes place April 26 to May 5.

From the Chicago Department of Transportation release:

The lifting of the movable bridges over the Chicago River for recreational boat traffic resumes this weekend, running until the end of June.

Each year, in the spring and fall, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) raises the movable bridges along the Main and South Branches of the Chicago River to accommodate recreational boats traveling to and from their storage yards.

"The lifting of Chicago's iconic movable river bridges is a local rite of spring, marking the beginning of the boating season," said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. "The City coordinates with local boat storage yards each year to create a schedule that accommodates boats while creating 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. This spring, 27 bridges will be lifted in order from Ashland Avenue Bridge on the South Branch to Lake Shore Drive.

The Spring 2013 bridge lift schedule is as follows:

  • • Saturday, April 6th at 8 a.m.
  • • Saturday, April 20th at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, April 24th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, May 8th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, May 11th at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, May 15th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, May 18th at 8 a.m.
  • • Sunday, May 19th at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, May 22nd at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, May 29th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, June 1st at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, June 5th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, June 8th at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, June 12th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, June 15th at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, June 19th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, June 22nd at 8 a.m.
  • • Wednesday, June 26th at 9:30 a.m.
  • • Saturday, June 29th at 8 a.m.

In the meantime, prepare for river traffic jams the next few weekends as scenes like this play out in the rush to get spring started:

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on April 4, 2013 9:13 AM.

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