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Proposal: Bury a Section of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive

In an ambitious plan dating back to the early 20th century, some Chicagoans want to build out park space over Lake Shore Drive's Oak Street S-bend. The project wouldn't be a straightforward one.
March 7, 2017, 9am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Image of Chicago Lake Shore Drive Freeway
Rhett Sutphin

Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one example of America's many waterside urban thoroughfares, just might find itself tunneling under 70 acres of new park space. 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, among others, is championing a plan to redo the roadway as it curves past Oak Street Beach just north of downtown. 

Jay Koziarz writes, "At its heart, the plan would straighten out and bury Lake Shore Drive's tight and dangerous Oak Street S-bend and would provide unfettered pedestrian access to 70 acres of newly created lakefront parkland, beaches, trails, and a breakwater island."

This is far from a done deal. The proposal is expensive and construction wouldn't likely begin until 2020. "With a price tag reaching as high as $500 million, the project would be hugely expensive and would require the cooperation of multiple local, state, and federal entities like the various Departments of Transportation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers."

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Published on Thursday, February 9, 2017 in Curbed Chicago
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