City of Chicago Announces Start of Bridge Lifts Along the Chicago River

The City of Chicago began the autumn bridge lifts on Wednesday, September 22. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Due to ongoing work happening on Lake Shore Drive, the bridge lift may 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.

Fall 2020 Bridge Lift Schedule

  • Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 10 at 9 a.m
  • Wednesday, Oct.14 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.