CHICAGO — The city is closing part of Lake Shore Drive Downtown on Thursday, the same day video of Chicago police fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo is expected to go public.
The Lake Shore Drive bridge over the Chicago River will be raised 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. The city’s Department of Transportation made the announcement just hours after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability confirmed police footage from the March 29 shooting of the seventh-grader will be released Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Transportation said the bridges will be raised “for testing and maintenance ahead of boat run season.” Testing of the bridges has been going on all month and the Lake Shore Drive bridge had its long scheduled maintenance test Monday. Spokesman Michael Claffey said crews need to do additional testing, which will take place Thursday. Officials said the bridge testing wasn’t connected to the video release.
The first boat run of the Spring season is scheduled to start Saturday, officials said.
Drivers will be detoured to Columbus Avenue. Drivers heading north will have to go from Monroe to Columbus to Illinois, then back to Lake Shore Drive. Drivers going south will have to get off Lake Shore Drive at Grand Avenue, head to Columbus and jump back on the drive at Monroe.
The city has been preparing for possible protests after footage from the body worn police cameras is released. More officers have been sent Downtown and large trucks that can be used to block off roads have been set up. Large salt trucks have been stationed outside Chicago Police headquarters in Bronzeville.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the call to raise Chicago River bridges Downtown during last summer’s social justice protests, an unusual move not used by previous mayors. A city watchdog later concluded that tactic of raising bridges between Michigan Avenue and Wells Street led to violent clashes between police and protesters, took time away from stopping looters and officers didn’t think it was effective. It also hadn’t been done in at least a decade and was rejected as an emergency crowd control strategy during the 2012 NATO summit.
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