The Chainlink

I see that even four years isn't going to be enough for construction of the Navy Pier flyover -- it's going to extend into the middle of 2019.  So now we're talking about five years and more than $60 million to complete a stretch of trail that is 1/3 of a mile in length (1,750 feet).  Not bad -- just $180 million a mile.  Pretty soon we're going to be talking about real money here.

This is a classic Chicago boondoggle.  It about makes me cry to think about all that could have been accomplished with that kind of money.  This reminds me of Millenium Park, a $150 million project that cost $475 million by the time it opened four years after the millenium.

I'm sure happy that the eternal contingent of connected contractors and cronies is still alive and doing well in the Windy City.  I wonder what the excuse will be when the flyover isn't ready in 2019.   

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Hi Jim...glad to see you (maybe) paraphrasing one of Illinois' most esteemed politicians...Everett Dirksen!

The Flyover about makes me cry too...and has ever since it was conceived.  At that time, it seemed that the most logical plan would have been to shut down a lane of lower Lake Shore Drive to allow the widening of the existing Bike Path...and leave it at that.

Yes...this wouldn't have put millions into the pockets of Chicago "contractors and cronies." And it would have slightly reduced car access to the bridge by repurposing one car on-ramp from lower Randolph Street.  But it is The Lakefront.   And still protected by the Lakefront Ordinance, which recognizes that the:

...Lake Michigan shoreline possesses special environmental, recreational, cultural, historical, community and aesthetic interests and values that require protection and preservation...

Was building a monster bridge up in the sky, albeit for bikes, the best way to preserve the Lakefront?  And wouldn't the reduction of high-speed cars along the Lakefront have been a good thing?

And yet they can tear up and repave and tear up and repave and redo the Elston,Fullerton.Damen intersection in 2 years.Tear down the old Western ave overpass bridg redo intersection in one Summer.


Bikes=buy a car and get off the road!

I don't think calling it "a stretch of trail" is quite right. It's an elevated span with two bridges, one of which (maybe both?) has to be movable.  It's likely done on fill, which makes anchoring difficult. Also, until it was removed, the ground was mildly radioactive.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL. The seawalls are being enhanced at the same time, and the old LSD bridge needs fixing too.

So there's a lot of stuff that was bundled into the project, a lot more than just building "a stretch of trail", and a decent chunk of which would have had to been done anyway.

The land rights near Lake Point Tower surely complicate things too.

So it's complicated, which makes it pretty expensive, and the complexities are a lot more than a trail.

(And it's surely not a boondoggle for many of us who take it daily, right?)

The Flyover is taking way too long to finish. But correcting that miserable stretch is worth he cost for our city's best path and most popular tourist destination.

I think they're are a couple different questions here: (1) did that stretch need a fix; (2) is the flyover worth the (initially-budgeted) cost if it fixes the problem; and (3) has this been implemented in a way that's created a complete boondoggle?  Unfortunately, the answer to all three questions is a resounding yes.

It was always going to be a costly and complicated project, but I think this has been handled pretty poorly, and it's now ventured into boondoggle status IMHO regardless of its ultimate merits.

This project also demonstrates the priority any non-automobile related infrastructure gets in Chicago and the U.S. in general.  I'm sure the budget impass didn't help, but the budget impass never should have happened in the first place, and it didn't seem to bring as many road projects to a screeching halt as it did this project.  

Well put. I agree.



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