CHICAGO – A new 2-mile stretch of Chicago’s iconic Lake Shore Drive opened to car traffic Sunday after completion of the $64 million project, which officials touted as a stimulus for economic development.
The extension cuts through undeveloped property on the city’s South Side where a U.S. Steel works once stood, opening up hundreds of acres land for new businesses to potentially set up, longtime advocates argued.
State funds paid $46 million of its cost, while the federal government kicked in $15 million and the city of Chicago $3 million.
The extension provides a shortcut for drivers heading to and from the Chicago Skyway and Indiana. It was also designed to steer cars from clogged residential streets on the South Side. The four-lane divided road also features bicycle lanes.
Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel marked the project’s completion at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, when only bicyclists and runners were given access to the roadway.
“This is a boon for residents and business owners who have been waiting for this day and a boon to local businesses who worked on it,” Emanuel said in remarks released by his office.