ROGERS PARK — City officials are asking Far North Side residents to have patience as workers begin to fortify the lakefront against further erosion, and to use “caution” as lake levels will likely remain high through the winter.
Crews began work on Monday to reinforce the shoreline in Rogers Park, using boulders to form a barrier against further erosion. Work began at Juneway Beach, where large equipment was brought in Monday to move the rocks into place.
After Juneway is completed, work will move on to Rogers and then Howard beaches, the city confirmed Monday. Crews will also begin this week to fortify the shoreline near 49th Street and will erect concrete barriers near 67th Street to protect South Shore Drive from storm-related flooding, the city said Monday.
The emergency work is necessary after fall storms combined with high Lake Michigan levels to chip away at Chicago’s already battered shoreline.
“Some of the damage that already exists, we’ve seen further erosion and further damage,” Thomas Carney, Chicago Department of Transportation’s acting commissioner, said of the storms. The work being done is to “preserve what we have there … and to prevent further damage.”
City officials confirmed on Friday that emergency work had been ordered to help fortify the Rogers Park shoreline, where erosion has caused some lakeshore-dwelling neighbors to become concerned about their property.
The work is needed because lake levels are expected to remain high through the winter, and storms could cause waves that accelerate erosion and cause flooding, the city said. Lake Michigan currently sits just below its record high water level of 582 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
To prepare for the winter, the city in September installed 5,000 square feet of concrete barriers at locations along Lake Shore Drive and near the lakefront to help prevent flooding, Carney said.
The city has already fenced off areas of the lakefront where erosion has caused dangerous conditions. The closures will remain in place until work is done, but the city is reminding residents to use caution when visiting the lakefront this winter.
“We encourage everyone to use caution on days when there’s high wave activity,” Carney said.
Daytime parking restrictions on Eastlake Terrace near Juneway Beach will be in effect until Dec. 13. Additional truck traffic should be expected on Sheridan Road and Eastlake Terrace, according to the city.