City leaders lay out New Year’s Eve safety plan amid omicron

Chicago News

CHICAGO – Days away until the big event, Chicago health officials laid out their New Year’s Eve safety plan on Wednesday morning.

Streets and bridges in the Loop will close to all traffic as early as 11 p.m. on Friday and anticipate reopening at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. Closures are subject to change if necessary due to public safety and operational needs.

The fireworks show, which will also be on-air and online on WGN, can be viewed from Wolf Point near the Franklin/Orleans Street bridge to the east of Columbus Drive to Navy Pier. For public safety, the Riverwalk will be closed early to pedestrian traffic preceding the fireworks.

The mask mandate for Chicago and Illinois remains in effect and a mask is required at all public indoor settings across the city. Many venues will also require proof of vaccinations, or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

Two days later, on Jan. 3, the city’s proof of vaccine mandate for businesses goes into effect.

The following are closures from a City of Chicago press release.

Street, Bridge and Riverwalk Closures 

  • Beginning at 4 p.m., sidewalks will close to pedestrians on one side of each of the following bridges (pedestrians will have access to the sidewalk on the remaining side of the bridge and be able to cross until the bridges are closed for the display launch between 11-11:30 p.m.): Franklin/Orleans Street bridge (west sidewalk), Lasalle Street bridge (east sidewalk), Clark Street bridge (east sidewalk), Dearborn Street bridge (west sidewalk), and State Street bridge (east sidewalk). 
  • At 4 p.m., the Chicago Riverwalk will close east of State Street to all pedestrian traffic. The remainder of the Riverwalk west of State Street will close based on public safety. Viewing will not be allowed from the Chicago Riverwalk. 
  • Beginning at 11 p.m., expect complete closures of the Franklin/Orleans Street, Lasalle Street, Clark Street, Dearborn Street, and State Street bridges to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic. 
  • Also, at 11:00 p.m., eastbound Upper, Middle and Lower Wacker Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic from Lake Street to Stetson Avenue. Pedestrian traffic and viewing from Upper Wacker Drive will be permitted. 
  • Streets and bridges are expected to reopen to vehicular traffic approximately 10 minutes after the fireworks display or when deemed safe to do so. We anticipate all bridges and streets to re-open by 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 1. 

CTA Service Impact 

  • CTA will be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule on Friday, December 31st. 
  • Free Rides: CTA is once again providing free bus and rail rides beginning 10 p.m. Friday (12/31) until 4 a.m. Saturday (1/1); customers do not need to tap their Ventra Card or other payment methods to board buses or enter rail stations during this time (more info). 
  • Rail Service: Purple and Yellow line service hours will be extended until approx. 2 a.m. 
  • Bus Service: Expect complete closures of all bridges over the Chicago River between Franklin/Orleans Street Bridge and Lake Shore Drive for the fireworks display. 
  • Beginning as early as 10 p.m. and until as late as 2 a.m., the following CTA buses running North and South over the river will operate only to Wacker for the duration of the event: #3 King Drive, #6 Jackson Park Express, #22 Clark, #36 Broadway, #62 Archer, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, #147 Outer Drive Express, and #151 Sheridan.  
  • Other buses in the vicinity of the fireworks, including those serving Wacker Drive and Navy Pier are subject to temporary, rolling reroutes to adjacent streets. 
  • A complete listing of all CTA bus service impacts is available at www.transitchicago.com/travel-information/bus-status/ 
  • Properly worn masks are required at all times while on CTA buses, trains and properties. 

Watercraft Impact 

  • Increased security measures will be in place.  
  • No boats are allowed to transit within the USCG Safety Zone which includes the area just west of the Franklin Street bridge and continuing east of the Columbus Drive bridge. 

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