Major portion of Navy Pier Flyover opens downtown

CHICAGO — A plan to make Chicago's lakefront trail safer reached a major milestone Thursday as a large portion of the Navy Pier Flyover officially opened for pedestrians and cyclists.

The 16-foot wide bridge takes cyclists and pedestrians over Grand Avenue and Illinois Street, and will eventually extend across the Chicago River, providing safe passage away from a dangerously narrow area of the path.

Mayor Emanuel joined other local and state leaders for a walk along the much-anticipated crossing Thursday.

"I always say transportation is about 2 things: growing economies and growing communities," Mayor Emanuel said.

When it's finished, the flyover will run more than 1700 feet, enhancing the lakefront experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who use it, and the communities which benefit from it.

Discussions of the flyover go back over 20 years. Work on the $64 million project started in 2014 and was supposed to be finished this year, but the final phase crossing the river will likely not be completed until the end of 2019.

Officials blame delays in state and federal funding for needed for the project taking longer than initially expected.

Just five days ago, the City officially finished separating the nearly 18-mile lakefront trail between cyclists, runners and pedestrians from Ardmore Avenue on the North Side to 71st Street on the South.