The 43rd Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive will be replaced with an accessible overpass

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KENWOOD — An accessible bridge over Lake Shore Drive at 43rd Street is expected to open by the end of 2022, replacing a decades-old overpass that could only be accessed by stairs.

The new overpass, with a winding design similar to the one completed at 41st Street in 2018, will allow wheelchair users, cyclists and emergency vehicles to cross Lake Shore Drive and adjacent train tracks.

According to Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Claffey, 80% of the $31.5 million project will be funded by federal funds, with the rest coming from state funds.

Closure and demolition work on the existing pedestrian bridge will begin in the coming days, Claffey said. Kenwood residents and visitors can use the 41st Street Overpass or the 47th Street Underpass and Bridge to access Burnham Park and the Lakefront Trail during construction.

A Burnham Park playground near the viaduct will also be removed and replaced as part of the project.

The existing 43rd Street Bridge, which is not accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act, was first built over railroad tracks in 1938 and spanned Lake Shore Drive to the edge of the lake in 1954.

Credit: Google Maps
A view of the existing 43rd Street Bridge in August 2019.

The 43rd Street Overpass is the fourth of five planned CDOT bridge projects to improve access to the southern edge of the lake. The final project, to rebuild the vehicular bridge over the 31st Street railroad tracks, is expected to begin in late 2021.

A $26 million suspension bridge at 35th Street was opened to pedestrians and bicycles in November 2016, replacing a non-accessible pedestrian bridge similar to the one slated for demolition at 43rd Street.

The $33 million viaduct connecting 41st Street to Oakwood Beach — like its 43rd Street companion — features “tall, graceful S-curves that echo the curves of the driveways of Burnham Park,” according to a press release from the CDOT.

A $15 million project to rebuild the vehicular bridge over the railroad tracks at Oakwood Boulevard was completed last year.

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