Lake Michigan

Parts of Lakefront Trail Re-Open After Damage Caused by Winter Storm

The Chicago Park District is still working to remove asphalt from several damaged portions of the trail

NBCUniversal, Inc.

After high waves along Lake Michigan over the weekend left part of Chicago’s lakefront path in pieces, portions of the trail have re-opened after crews removed large chunks of asphalt left behind by this weekend's winter storm.

According to Chicago Park District officials, the section of the trail between Fullerton Avenue and Ohio Street, along with the section of the trail from between 41st and 45th streets, have been re-opened.

The trail in the area south of Fullerton, as well as the trial between Ohio and Oak streets, will remain closed as crews remove more debris.

Photos: High Waves Crumble Asphalt, Damage Lakefront Trails in Chicago

"I bike every day, and I've never seen it this bad," Pierre Salverda, a resident who rides his bike frequently on the trail, said.

Wind gusts of up to 55 mph helped to churn up the waters of Lake Michigan, causing waves of 15 feet and more to flood the trail in several sections. A rapid cool-down in the air temperature then froze some of the water, causing sections of the trail to buckle.

"When I saw it on Saturday it looked like the ocean out there," runner Katelyn Brown said. "I knew it was going to be a disaster."

The waves were so bad over the weekend that some sections of Lake Shore Drive itself were closed, as water sprayed onto the roadway.

Water levels on Lake Michigan remain at record highs in some areas, and according to new estimates released by the Army Corps of Engineers, lake levels could get even higher in the first six months of 2020.

Water levels on lakes Erie and Superior have already hit record highs, while lakes Michigan and Huron could be close behind, according to the corps.

Contact Us