KENWOOD — An accessible bridge over Lake Shore Drive at 43rd Street is expected to open by late 2022, replacing a decades-old overpass that could only be accessed by stairs.
The new overpass, with a curvy design similar to the one completed at 41st Street in 2018, will allow wheelchair users, bicyclists and emergency vehicles to cross Lake Shore Drive and the adjacent railroad tracks.
Eighty percent of the $31.5 million project will be paid for with federal funds, with the rest coming from state funding, according to Chicago Department of Transportation spokesperson Michael Claffey.
Work to close and demolish the existing pedestrian bridge will begin in the next few days, Claffey said. Kenwood residents and visitors may use the 41st Street overpass or the 47th Street underpass and bridge to access Burnham Park and the Lakefront Trail during construction.
A Burnham Park playlot near the overpass will also be removed and replaced as part of the project.
The existing 43rd Street bridge, which is not accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act, was first built over the railroad tracks in 1938 and extended across Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront in 1954.
The 43rd Street overpass is the fourth of five planned CDOT bridge projects to improve access to the south lakefront. The final project, to rebuild the vehicular bridge over the railroad tracks at 31st Street, is scheduled to begin in late 2021.
A $26 million suspension bridge at 35th Street opened to pedestrians and bikes in November 2016, replacing a non-accessible pedestrian bridge similar to the one set to be demolished at 43rd Street.
The $33 million overpass connecting 41st Street to Oakwood Beach — like its 43rd Street companion — features “large, graceful S-curves that echo the curves of the walkways in Burnham Park,” according to a CDOT press release.
A $15 million project to rebuild the vehicular bridge over the railroad tracks at Oakwood Boulevard was completed last year.
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