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Riverwalk update: construction underway, international lighting competition announced

The city is wasting no time in moving forward with bold plans for the Chicago Riverwalk, even despite the cold weather. The past week has included construction progress and another major announcement, setting the stage for an exciting 2014 for this important Loop attraction.

Construction underway

Work is underway on the extension of the Chicago Riverwalk, which was announced in 2012 and will build a continuous walkway and recreational amenity connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown.

Beginning tomorrow, the first H-piles (steel beams) will be driven into the riverbed, laying the foundation for what will become the future riverwalk. This process will begin between LaSalle and Clark streets and proceed east towards State Street over the next several weeks. Work will take place between 7 am and 5 pm Monday through Saturday and may be loud at times, especially during the frigid weather.

The first three blocks should open by the end of this year.

International lighting competition announced

Last week in a speech announcing tourism successes, Mayor Emanuel launched an international competition to light the city at night, beginning with the Riverwalk. This will provide tourists more opportunities to enjoy the city and presents another reason for people to visit Chicago.

The competition, beginning later this month, will seek entries from artists, architects, planners and designers from around the world. Conceptual renderings show colorful lights adorning both sides of the main branch of the Chicago River, as well as light projections on building facades.

Chicago Loop Alliance support

The Riverwalk was identified in Chicago Loop Alliance's 2013 Strategic Action Plan as a major Loop asset and opportunity. CLA is also considering creative lighting applications for other areas of the Loop, including Wabash Avenue. Community input gathered through the initial phases of the Transforming Wabash initiative indicate broad support for LED and other new lighting technologies to transform the ‘L’ infrastructure into a must-see spectacle and true Chicago destination.

Photo: City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor


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