Lake Michigan

Project to Protect Chicago's Lake Shore Moves to South Side

Large boulders called "rip rap" will be installed between 49th Street and 51st Street

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A months-long project to help shore up Chicago’s lakefront in the battle against erosion has moved to the South Side.

On Tuesday, advance work began on a new project to help stabilize the lakefront between 49th and 51st Streets. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Chicago Department of Transportation, and the Chicago Park District will embark on the bulk of the work in January as they try to save bike paths and beaches along the lakes.

Last summer, the lakefront path was separated into two separate trails, and the path closer to the lake is currently unusable because of heavy damage caused by elevated water levels on Lake Michigan.

Prep and survey work is now underway to repair the damage and to fortify the lakeshore, as large boulders, known as “rip rap” will be placed along the shoreline in the coming months.

Similar work was recently completed at Juneway Park on Chicago’s North Side. Rogers and Howard beaches will also have the rocky barriers installed.

So far, the city of Chicago has installed more than 5,000 feet of concrete barriers along the lakefront, and more than 10,000 tons of “rip rap” will be used to protect three North Side parks that are dealing with severe erosion.

CDOT says there should be little-to-no traffic impact because of the construction, but gaper’s delays are possible due to the heavy machinery that will be used during the project. 

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