Chicago River Bridge Lift Begins

Lake Shore Drive Bridge

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- We all might be trying to hang on to the last bits of summer we can, but Saturday brings a reminder that cooler weather is ahead. The annual autumn bridge lift began in the morning to permit sailboats and recreational boats to move to their winter storage facilities.

During these “boat runs,” the bridges along the main and south branches of the Chicago River are raised one at a time. Each lift lasts eight to 12 minutes. Traffic nearby is stopped so the bridge can be raised to an upright position. This happens twice a year: In the spring to let boats in, and in the fall to let boats out. This season, 27 bridges will be opened each Wednesday and Saturday to let the boats travel through the open waters of Lake Michigan.

Commuters this year will see longer wait times on Lake Shore Drive because of ongoing construction. Chicago Department of Transportation officials suggest that drivers who typically use Lake Shores to get to their destination at 9 a.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday choose an alternate route. Delays could last 45 minutes or longer, they said.

The streets where bridge lifts occur include:

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.

Here is the fall bridge lift schedule:
  • Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 25 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, 9 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 19 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m.