2-mile Lake Shore Drive south extension to open Sunday
By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter October 26, 2013 6:06PM
Updated: October 27, 2013 11:47AM
A new, two-mile extension of South Lake Shore Drive is set to open by 9 a.m. Sunday, relocating U.S. Route 41 several blocks east and extending from South Shore Drive and 79th to Ewing, near 92nd.
The South Lake Shore Drive extension will carry traffic at a posted speed limit of 30 miles an hour.
The relocated Route 41 puts the road alongside 600 acres that once housed U.S. Steel’s South Works plant, which is being redeveloped.
Another difference drivers will notice: They’ll be able to drive without having to navigate the five curves that the old Route 41 inculded.
The $64 million extension has crabapple trees and coneflowers planted in the median, LED streetlights, bike lanes and parallel parking.
Paid for by city, state and federal taxes, the roadway includes traffic-sensitive traffic signals at 79th, Farragut, 81st, 83rd and 85th.
The project has been one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s priorities.
Groundbreaking could start in a year on the adjoining land, the last massive parcel of privately owned lakefront in Chicago. Planed for the site: more than 30 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 14,000 housing units.
The relocated Route 41 means drivers from the north will find smoother access to the Chicago Skyway and Indiana.
And bicyclists will now be able to ride smooth, asphalt bike lanes from Rainbow Beach Park south to the Calumet River and continue on to the Burnham Greenway and Indiana.