Weeks of Closures Announced for NASCAR Chicago Street Race originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
NASCAR's Chicago Street race is slated to take over the city for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but the impacts for drivers will be felt long before and after the race is done.
Officials on Monday detailed a traffic plan, featuring more than a month of rolling closures around the city in the lead-up and tear-down for the first-time event.
Closures will include major roadways like DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Jackson Drive, Balbo Drive and Michigan Avenue and are expected to kick off on June 2 and continue through July 15, adding to a long list of traffic disruptions for drivers in the city already battling major construction projects on the Kennedy Expressway and elsewhere.
The biggest interruptions are slated to begin on June 25. (Full list of closures below)
On top of the closures, officials said they expect roughly 50,000 people to attend each day of the two-day event.
“The city of Chicago has been working with NASCAR in the planning and execution of the race to minimize disruptions to residents and visitors while making it a safe event for everyone,” Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority, and we will help monitor all race activity leading up to the event, through the race weekend, and following the event to help coordinate city resources and expectations.”
The deal between NASCAR and the city of Chicago, which was announced last summer, gives NASCAR access to Grant Park from June 22 to July 5.
The anticipated travel disruptions have led to some concerns from area businesses and officials.
“This NASCAR race is going to have a major impact on the neighborhood,” said Jim Wales, vice president of the Grant Park Advisory Council. “We know parts of the park could be closed for 40 days, and that’s unacceptable when you look at the money generated, at least on paper, by NASCAR.”
Additionally, an official for Shedd Aquarium said the famed Chicago landmark could miss out on up to $3 million during the NASCAR Street Race, which takes place around the aquarium's busiest time of the year.
The NASCAR Cup Series street course race will take place on July 2 and will be preceded by an IMSA-sanctioned series race, which will run on July 1.
The proposed 12-turn, 2.2-mile course will take drivers onto major city roads like Columbus Drive, Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, traveling along Lake Michigan and around the city's iconic Grant Park.
The start and finish line and pit road will be located along South Columbus Drive directly in front of Buckingham Fountain. The course will pass through the famed Grant Park, the northern edge of Soldier Field and more.
The event marks the first-ever cup series street race in NASCAR's 75-year history.
Here's what we know so far about the planned closures:
Parking restrictions begin at 6 a.m. on June 2 along southbound Columbus Drive, between Jackson Drive and Balbo drive. Part of the sidewalk along Columbus Drive will also close at this time, but city officials noted that corners will remain accessible to allow visitors to still reach Buckingham Fountain.
At 6 a.m. on June 5, northbound parking will be restricted between Jackson and Balbo, with east side sidewalks being blocked.
Beginning June 10, Ida B. Wells between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will close down, but eastbound lanes between Congress Circle and Michigan Avenue will remain open.
Starting on June 18, Jackson Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will close. This closure is expected to begin at 7 p.m. and continue through 6 a.m. the following morning.
On June 19, Balbo will close between Michigan Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive, but the intersection along Columbus will remain open.
Starting at 6 a.m. on June 20, one lane will be blocked on northbound Columbus Drive between Roosevelt and Balbo Drive. Chicago Transit Authority busses that run along this strip will also be rerouted, officials said.
Curb lane closures begin on June 21 for northbound Columbus Drive between Balbo and Jackson Drive.
Beginning at 6 a.m. on June 22, one lane of southbound Columbus Drive will be closed between Roosevelt and Balbo. The Columbus Drive underpass, however, will remain open.
Beginning at 6 a.m., a lane closure will continue on southbound Columbus Drive, this time from Balbo to Jackson.
Lane closures will begin on June 24 along Congress Circle in both directions.
June 25 – Beginning at 12:01 a.m.
Jackson Drive will close between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive and Columbus Drive will close between Jackson Drive and Roosevelt Road.
June 26 – Beginning at 6 a.m.
Congress Plaza Drive will close and lane closures begin on eastbound Roosevelt Road between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
June 27 – Beginning at 6 a.m.
Curb lane closure begins on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt Road for track barrier installation.
June 28 – Beginning at 10 p.m.
A curb lane closure is slated to start on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt Road for track barrier installation.
June 29 – Beginning at 8 p.m.
Northbound Michigan Avenue will close between Balbo Drive and Jackson Drive and a traffic lane closure will begin on southbound Michigan Avenue between Balbo and Jackson.
Then at 10 p.m., southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will close between Monroe Drive and McFetridge Road and Roosevelt Road will shut down between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
June 30 – Beginning at 5 p.m.
Southbound Michigan Avenue will close between Balbo Drive and Jackson Drive.
Race Weekend Closures
Northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will close between McFetridge Drive and Randolph Street.
Other race weekend closures include full shut downs of:
SB DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Randolph Street to McFetridge Drive
NB DuSable Lake Shore Drive from McFetridge to Randolph Street
NB Michigan Avenue from Roosevelt Road to Jackson Drive
SB Michigan Avenue from Jackson Drive and Balbo Drive
Monroe Avenue from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Columbus Drive from Roosevelt Rad to Monroe Drive
Roosevelt Road from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Columbus Drive
Jackson Drive from Michigan Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Balbo Drive from Michigan Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Ida B. Wells from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive
After Race Closures
July 2 - beginning at end of event
Officials said the priority will be centered on opening up DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue "as soon as possible."
Northbound Lake Shore Drive is scheduled to reopen between McFetridge and Monroe and southbound Michigan Avenue will reopen between Roosevelt and Monroe sometime before 7 a.m. on July 3, officials said.
At least one lane of traffic is expected to reopen on southbound Lake Shore Drive by midnight on July 3. Northbound Michigan Avenue and eastbound Roosevelt Road will also see one lane reopen, while all of westbound Roosevelt Road is expected to reopen.
Beginning at midnight and continuing through 4 p.m., officials are expected to continue to remove track wall from the event on southbound Lake Shore Drive, fully reopening the road after 4 p.m., officials said.
Then, beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing through the morning hours of July 5, the remaining walls on northbound Michigan Avenue will be removed, "allowing for three lanes" to reopen.
Between July 5 and July 6 Congress Circle is expected to fully reopen.
Columbus Drive between Roosevelt and Balbo is expected to remain closed in both directions. Balbo Drive will also remain closed to traffic between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.
Jackson Drive will remain closed between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive in both directions. Closures will also continue on Columbus Drive.
Columbus Drive reopens in both directions between Roosevelt Road and Jakcson Boulevard, but one lane remains closed between Balbo Drive and Jackson Boulevard in both directions.
Ida B. Wells between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive fully reopens.
Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive intersection reopens.
Northbound Columbus Drive reopens fully between Balbo Drive and Jackson Boulevard.
Balbo Drive reopens between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
All streets, parking and sidewalks are reopened.
For those needing to travel north or south, officials recommend:
• State St.
• Dearborn St. (NB)
• LaSalle St. (NB and SB)
• Wells St. (SB)
• Franklin St. (NB)
• Upper Wacker Dr. (NB and SB)
For west or east:
• Upper Wacker. (EB and WB)
• Randolph St. (WB)
• Washington. (EB)
• Madison Ave. (WB)
• Roosevelt Rd. (EB and WB)
• 18th St. (EB and WB)
• 22nd St / Cermak (EB and WB)
Lower Wacker Drive will be promoted for through traffic to avoid the Loop.