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Lake Shore Drive reopens after package forces closure

A robot examines blue bag thclosed traffic both directions Lake Shore Drive Wednesday afternoon. | NBC5

A robot examines a blue bag that closed traffic in both directions on Lake Shore Drive on Wednesday afternoon. | NBC5

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Updated: April 16, 2014 5:54PM

Chicago Police shut down a North Side stretch of Lake Shore Drive was closed for about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon, after the report of a suspicious package in the area.

The package turned out to be a harmless duffle bag along the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Police said later.

About noon, authorities received the report of a suspicious package in the 600 block of West Lawrence, but it would take an hour for police to identify the item. Ultimately, the police Bomb and Arson Squad was called in and a robot examined the bag before it was determined the item was harmless, authorities said.

By 2:30 p.m., the southbound lanes from Wilson to Foster had reopened; shortly after the northbound lanes were reopened, Chicago Police said.

“My husband was stuck in that traffic jam. When he got home, he said, ‘Let’s go see what’s happening.’ It was likely some homeless person’s gear. They sleep here,” said Karen Santor, 53, of Uptown, standing at the Lawrence Avenue overpass watching the drama unfold.

“They needed a robot and to shut down the drive? I think all of this nowadays is overkill. I understand yesterday was the anniversary of the Boston bombing. I get it. Still, it’s just sad we have to go to such extremes.”

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