South Lake Shore Drive Extension Opens

Two-mile project cost approximately $64 million

The South Lake Shore Drive extension opened Sunday after more than a year of work.

The two-mile extension runs two lanes in each direction south of Rainbow Beach at 79th Street to 92nd and Ewing Avenue. Drivers will be restricted to a speed limit of 30 mph, which is less than the rest of Lake Shore Drive's usual 40 mph limit.

Cyclists also will be able to enjoy the new stretch of road. There is a bike lane in each direction between 79th and 87th, as well as shared vehicle-bike lanes south of 87th.

"It does show when you work together-- you open up a road, you open a runway, you open up a new train station-- you unlock all that economic potential all that economic opportunity to have come and happen here," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday.

The $64 million project, which began in April 2012, was designed to relocate U.S. Highway 41 through the old U.S. Steel Corp site.

A total of $46 million for the project came from Gov. Pat Quinn's "Illinois Jobs Now!" capital construction program, federal highway funds accounted for $15 million and $3 million came from the city of Chicago.

Project managers said the road is intended to function as an arterial street. It is also decorated with landscaping and coupled with great views of Lake Michigan, providing drivers with an added aesthetic bonus.

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