Looking north as cars wait to cross 63rd Street along Cornell Drive near the planned site for the Obama Presidential Center on June 29, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

WOODLAWN — Cornell Drive will close for good Friday between the Midway Plaisance and Hayes Drive.

The half-mile stretch of Cornell Drive, which has long been a popular route for drivers traveling between DuSable Lake Shore Drive and Stony Island Avenue, will permanently close as road work continues ahead of the Obama Presidential Center’s opening.

Cornell Drive will reopen between Hayes and Marquette drives Saturday, while Hayes Drive from Stony Island Avenue to Cornell Drive will be temporarily closed.

The closed portion of Cornell Drive will be converted to park use as city officials reconfigure Jackson Park and nearby streets to accommodate the Obama Presidential Center.

Northbound drivers traveling from Stony Island Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive should take Stony Island Avenue to Cornell Drive to Hayes Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive, transportation officials said.

Southbound drivers traveling from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Stony Island Avenue should take DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Hayes Drive to Cornell Drive to Stony Island Avenue, officials said.

DuSable Lake Shore Drive will also reopen in full after being widened to include three lanes in each direction near Jackson Park.

Most pedestrian underpasses between 57th and Hayes drives — including new underpasses below Hayes Drive at DuSable Lake Shore and Cornell drives — will be open. The underpass near 59th Street Harbor remains temporarily closed.

Roadway narrowing and parking restrictions will remain in effect as crews continue work to widen Stony Island Avenue.

A map of traffic changes set to go into effect Saturday, July 1. Credit: Chicago Department of Transportation

The traffic changes are the latest updates in a redesign of roads in and around Jackson Park for the Obama Center. In addition to widening DuSable Lake Shore Drive and Stony Island Avenue, planned permanent road changes include:

  • Closing some roads and converting them to park land:
    • Cornell Drive between the Midway Plaisance and Hayes Drive
    • The northbound section of Cornell Drive between 65th and 68th streets
    • Marquette Drive between Stony Island Avenue and Richards Drive
    • The eastbound portion of Midway Plaisance between Stony Island Avenue and Cornell Drive
  • Changes to other roadways, bike paths and walkways in and around Jackson Park.

The project’s second phase will focus on road work south of 64th Street and take place until 2025.

The third phase will focus on building pedestrian underpasses south of 64th Street — including ones at Jeffery Boulevard and South Shore Drive — starting in 2025.

The city’s transportation department is set to spend $174 million in state funds on the road projects.

For more information on Obama Center-related road work, visit the city’s website for Jackson Park.

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