Over the past few months, the casual passerby walking towards Navy Pier may have assumed that a roller coaster was being assembled as part of the pier's ongoing major renovation. The steel spine snaking around Lake Point Tower though is the skeletal structure for the long anticipated Navy Pier Flyover, an enhanced stretch of the lakefront path. The new elevated alignment will eliminate two at-grade street crossings as it crosses over Grand Avenue and Illinois Street while also providing congestion relief for this heavily used portion of the popular path. The lakefront path currently uses the Lake Shore Drive bridge to carry it over the river where runners and cyclists then compete for limited sidewalk space between the roadway and columns supporting the two and three level viaduct.
Phase 1 of the flyover has progressed very slowly, and includes the elevated segment over Grand and Illinois as well as a spur ramp leading towards Navy Pier. For the main route, the elevated path is sandwiched between the vehicular traffic lanes of upper Lake Shore Drive and the podium base of Lake Point Tower. On this stretch between Grand and Illinois, the flyover is being attached to the existing Lake Shore Drive structure, where new steel is cantilevering from the original columns. This then supports the modular sections of the round spine currently being welded together. Directly north of Lake Point tower, the flyover then twists slightly eastward onto its own stand-alone columns as it ramps down into the park land beside Ohio Street Beach.
Residents of Lake Point Tower voiced concerns of privacy as the flyover would be essentially level with the landscaped rooftop of the tower's podium. As such, privacy screens were incorporated into the design, a mock-up of which can be viewed to the south of Illinois Street.
Along Ogden Slip, the spur ramp towards Navy Pier which has had its skeletal structure put together as well, climbing upward from an embankment and onto vertical columns with a slight turn to the south and ending just shy of the open water. This, for the moment will remain a bridge to nowhere until Phase 2 links the spur ramp to the main path at a point in the air above Ogden Slip before proceed southward through the future DuSable Park.
Phase 3 will be a realignment of the crossing over the Chicago River and as previous renderings elude to, includes punching through the Art Deco bridgehouses on the eastern side of the historic bascule bridge which was completed on October 5, 1937 after a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. All three phases of the Navy Pier Flyover are expected to be finished in 2017.
— Shawn Ursini
·Checking In On Construction Of The New Navy Pier Flyover [Curbed Chicago]
·Navy Pier Flyover Recreation Trail To Begin Construction Soon [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Navy Pier Flyover coverage [Curbed Chicago]