Chicago's winter of record-breaking snow and cold has delayed the opening of river boat tour and taxi season.
Wendella Cruises were expected to start operations on Friday, but the fleet is stuck in ice along the Calumet River. Company president Michael Borgstrom said the boats are surrounded by ice that is up to 20 inches thick.
"In addition, Lake Michigan is iced over, making our annual trip from the shipyard an impossibility," he said.
The company set April 4 as the new start date. It's the first time in the company's 80-year history that the season has been delayed.
Wendella operates the popular Combined Lake and River Tour, Chicago River Architecture Tour, Chicago at Sunset Cruise and the Chicago River Experience Tour. The company also operates the Chicago WaterTaxi that provides scheduled water transportation service seven days a week from the Union Station and the Ogilvie Transporation Center to Michigan Avenue, Chinatown and North Avenue at Goose Island.
The federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor reported that ice spread across 93.29 percent of the lake's surface area on Saturday.