KENWOOD — A $1.5 million project to better protect the lakefront from 47th to 51st streets is underway as city officials work to address damage caused by high lake levels, erosion and severe storms.
Construction on a 20-foot-wide, 800-foot-long concrete retaining wall at Morgan Shoal is set for completion in about six weeks, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced. About 1,500 tons of stone rubble will also be placed along the lakefront to better protect the shoreline from erosion.
The wall will carry a section of the Lakefront Trail, which has been narrowed since Lake Michigan battered the shoreline during a massive storm in January 2020. Pedestrians and bicyclists have been required to share the same path since the storm.
The right lane of northbound Lake Shore Drive will be closed at 51st Street from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. every Monday-Friday until the project is complete. Drivers are urged to look out for heavy trucks entering and exiting the highway during work hours.
The project is funded by a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District grant awarded to CDOT to repair the damage caused by last year’s storm.
“Chicago’s lakefront shoreline is one of our greatest natural assets, and it is seriously threatened by rising lake levels caused by climate change,” transportation commissioner Gia Biagi said in a statement. “We are very pleased to be partnering with the MWRD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chicago Park District to make these critical repairs that will protect the Lakefront Trail and South Lake Shore Drive from damage caused by future major storms.”
CDOT and the Chicago Park District have also repaired barrier wall erosion and reinforced the shoreline at Arthur Ashe Beach Park, 2701 E. 74th St. in South Shore. That project was completed last month.
“The new revetment structure will protect the playground and adjacent parkland as well as the 74th Street right of way from further erosion damage,” CDOT spokespeople Mike Claffey and Susan Hofer said in a statement.
South Side residents have ramped up their push for more funding to address flooding and erosion at the local, state and federal levels since the January 2020 storms.
Neighbors have organized a task force on erosion, given officials tours of eroding and flooded properties and applied for federal funding to address natural threats to the south lakefront over the last year.
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