CHICAGO — The very popular Oak Street Beach could get bigger as city and state officials work to better protect the lakefront from Lake Michigan flooding.
The Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation released renderings this week showing a revetment wall with additional park space near Chicago Avenue, an expanded Oak Street Beach and renovations to North Avenue Beach as potential shoreline protection solutions, according to a news release.
Additional green space and larger beaches are intended to smooth out the infamous Oak Street S-curve and prevent big waves from reaching drivers and people on trail paths.
Climate change has led to eroding Chicago beaches and more extreme swings in water levels in Lake Michigan.
Researchers have been testing the resiliency of shoreline changes through computer and physical modeling, including recreating parts of the lakefront in a wave tank. The modeling will help designers build infrastructure with a “high level of protection” from storms in the next 200 years of water levels, according to the news release.
The city and state’s transportation agencies have worked since 2013 on the Redefine the Drive plan to reconstruct DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Grand to Hollywood avenues. Much of the road was built in the 1930s. Though it has been repaved and widened, many of its bridges and tunnels are deteriorating.
Lofty plans for the redesign have been floated in recent years, including tunneling DuSable Drive under Oak Street Beach or adding acres of lakefront space.
RELATED: ‘DuSable Lake Shore Drive Could Get Bus-Only Lanes, Tolls And More Lakefront Park Space In Proposed Overhaul’
A final redesign plan has not yet been determined, but the new renderings will help Chicagoans “better understand the characteristics” of park, lakefront, pedestrian and bike space expansions that would be universal to any final plan, according to the news release.
You can check out more renderings here.
A public meeting about the project is anticipated in the fall, according to the news release.
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