Lake Shore Drive now goes a little farther south. Lake Shore Drive south, the project from 79th to 92nd, officially opens this weekend.
It’s a new stretch of road that city officials say will revitalize this south side neighborhood and create thousands of new jobs.
With the cut of the ceremonial ribbon, the new $64 million two-mile extension of Lake Shore Drive was open, unlocking a stretch of lakefront property that hasn’t been accessible to this Chicago community for more than a century.
“When you make these investments in infrastructure and roads, this is what I mean by building a new Chicago, and it unlocks all the economic potential and all the job creation that people have been waiting decades for,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Talks to open the southern extension to the drive started about nine years ago. It began as a project to transform the former U.S. Steel property into a sustainable neighborhood of lakefront homes and businesses.
It’s a project that Senator Dick Durbin said should be used as a national model.
“I’m one of those who believe that government should be in the business of opening things up, opportunity and jobs, not shutting things down,” Durbin said.
Opening festivities included a bike race on the newly minted pavement, and the unveiling of a steel sculpture by Chicago native Richard Hunt. It stands at the start of the new road.
The project received public and private funding and developers hope it revolutionizes and highlights this stretch along Chicago’s south side.