September 21, 2017

Chicago River Bridge Lifts to Start this Weekend on First Full Day of Fall

CDOT Announces 27 Bridges to be Raised in Sequence Twice a Week from Lake Shore Drive to Ashland Ave.

Mike Claffey     312.744.0707 | Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org

Susan Hofer    312.742-2006 | Susan.Hofer@cityofchicago.org

Photo of a lifted bridge

On the first full day of fall, the City of Chicago will begin the autumn boat runs by lifting the movable bridges over the Chicago River. Starting at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday the bridges along the main and south branches of the Chicago River will be lifted sequentially to allow sailboats and other recreational boats to make their annual trip from the wide open waters of Lake Michigan to winter storage along the South Branch of the Chicago River.

Each year, in the spring and fall, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) raises the movable bridges along the main and South Branches of the Chicago River on a twice weekly schedule on most Saturdays and Wednesdays for about eight weeks to accommodate the movement of recreational sail boats traveling to their storage yards.

“As the new season begins, CDOT is ready to help sailors move their boats from the Lake to their winter storage yards,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, who also serves as Chicago’s Harbor Master and has jurisdiction over the city’s waterways. “CDOT works with local boat storage yards to create a schedule that accommodates boats while minimizing the impact on downtown street traffic.”

During these “boat runs,” the bridges are raised sequentially, typically one at a time. Each bridge lift takes an average of 8-12 minutes. While the bridge is in the upright position, traffic is halted. Drivers may use alternate streets or wait until the bridge is lowered. A list of streets, from Lake Shore Drive to the end of the South Branch is below.

A total of 27 bridges will be lifted in succession from Lake Shore Drive to Ashland Avenue Bridge on the South Branch of the Chicago River. If no boat owners make arrangements to move their boats on a scheduled day, the bridges will not be lifted.

The streets affected by the bridge lifts are: Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Dr., Michigan Ave., Wabash Ave., State St., Dearborn St., Clark St., La Salle St., Wells St., Franklin St., Lake St., Randolph St., Washington St., Madison St., Monroe St., Adams St., Jackson Blvd., Van Buren St., Congress Pkwy., Harrison St., Roosevelt Rd., 18th St., Canal St., Cermak Ave., Halsted St., Loomis Ave., and Ashland Ave.

Editor’s Note: B-roll opportunity along main branch of Chicago River – approx. 9:40 a.m. at State Street and the River on Saturday, September 23.


The Fall 2017 bridge lift schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, Sept. 23 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 30 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m.


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Twitter: @ChicagoDOT
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The web: chicagodot.org

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