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Construction Begins on Third Phase of Riverwalk Extension

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After a well received opening of the newly expanded Chicago Riverwalk earlier this summer, construction of the third phase is now underway. As was the case for the most recently opened segment, the next three blocks extending from the LaSalle Street Bridge on the east to the Lake Street Bridge on the southwest will be constructed as one project and will complete the long planned expansion. This latest phase to come will also bring the pedestrian promenade into the confluences of the Chicago River where it splits into the North and South Branches.

The collaborative design team of Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki Associates have broken up the designs of each block into themed rooms. Within the recently completed second phase of the extension, this includes the Marina Plaza, the Cove and the River Theater rooms. The next set of blocks, from east to west will include:

LaSalle Street to Wells Street - The Water Plaza, an interactive zero-depth fountain with surrounding stairways designed to double as seating areas and new concession space tucked below the sidewalk of Upper Wacker Drive.

Wells Street to Franklin/Orleans Street - The Jetty, a series of floating gardens, wetlands and piers which will serve as an educational space for urban ecology.

Franklin street to Lake Street - The Boardwalk, an gradually inclining ramp over extensive landscaping that will bring the pedestrian flow of the riverwalk from water level up to street level. In previous conceptual plans before the present design was advanced, this block was envisioned to have a curving grand staircase hugging the bend of the river as the Main Branch transitions into the South Branch beyond the Lake Street Bridge.

Caisson work, drilled directly into the riverbed for the under-bridge connections will be underway later this year, with build outs of each block expected to be complete by mid-2016. Demolition work of the existing riverbank and removal of the dauphins (clusters of pilings serving as bumpers beside each bridge) is presently underway. Steel sheeting is being driven into the riverbed as well and what is presently open water between each of the bridges will soon have areas of new fill taking shape.

Shawn Ursini

·Locals and Tourists Share First Images of Completed Chicago Riverwalk Over the Weekend [Curbed Chicago]
·Chicago Riverwalk Construction Inching Closer to Completion [Curbed Chicago]
·Here's How the Riverwalk Extension Will Change Chicago [Curbed Chicago]