Hundreds of thousands of people crowded three locations this year to watch Chicago's dazzling fireworks display. Montrose Beach, 57th Street Beach and Navy Pier were all packed -- with the latter hitting capacity two hours before the fireworks started.
About 7:20 p.m. Sunday, Navy Pier was closed to any additional pedestrian or vehicular traffic because the pier had reached its capacity, according to the city Office of Emergency Management and Communications and unconfirmed dispatch reports. No one, even those who have restaurant reservations, were being allowed into Navy Pier once it was closed.
According to those dispatch reports, there were approximately 200,000 people at Navy Pier Sunday night. Additionally, even those who had reservations at any of Navy Pier's restaurants were not being allowed into the pier, according to the dispatch reports, but people who had a ticket to watch the fireworks from one of the boat cruises off Navy Pier were still being allowed into the area.
The Ohio Street feeder ramps onto both the southbound and northbound Kennedy Expressway were also closed as of 8:30 p.m. in preparation for the fireworks display, according to the emergency management office.
Navy Pier was one of three sites the city held fireworks demonstrations Sunday night. The other locations were Lawrence Avenue on the lakefront on the North Side and 59th Street and the lake on the South Side.
The order to close access to Navy Pier came at 7:19 p.m., according to unconfirmed dispatch reports. In addition to the estimated 200,000 people gathered at Navy Pier to watch the 9 p.m. fireworks display, there were approximately 65,000 gathered on the North Side lakefront as of about 7:45 p.m., according to dispatch reports.