UPTOWN — A pedestrian tunnel connecting Uptown to the lakefront has reopened after crumbling concrete forced city officials to close it last month.
The Buena Avenue underpass in the 4200 block of North Marine Drive reopened Thursday afternoon. City officials determined the underpass is structurally sound and can reopen, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said Thursday.
Officials initially said the tunnel would reopen by next week. Barriers blocking the underpass were removed Thursday.
In late February, the city shut down the popular tunnel under DuSable Lake Shore Drive after seeing concrete falling from the structure. The closure was needed while city crews assessed the damage, officials said.
The tunnel was deemed safe to reopen while the city works on both short and long-term fixes, Cappleman said in an email to constituents.
A sealant will be added to the tunnel to help stop leaking water, repairs that should be completed by early April, Cappleman said.
A more long-term repair will require closing DuSable Lake Shore Drive to remove the pavement and place a “membrane” on the underpass for a more permanent seal.
That repair will wait until the planned rebuild of the north branch of DuSable Drive, a project that does not yet have a set timeline, Cappleman said.
“In the meantime, this temporary fix is expected to keep the underpass in good condition until that larger overhaul can occur,” he said.
The Buena Avenue underpass has shown signs of deterioration in recent years. In January, chunks of concrete fell from the tunnel’s ceiling, exposing the structural beams underneath, according to CBS 2.
The underpass connects the Buena Park neighborhood to the Lakefront Trail and to the peace garden just east of DuSable Drive that is maintained by community members.
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