More road closures have been added to the more than two dozen rolling street and sidewalk closures scheduled in the run up to the NASCAR Chicago Street Race taking place this summer, officials revealed Tuesday as part of a traffic update about the event.
"Throughout the planning, we've considered impacts to businesses, alternative routes for motorists, weather impacts, community outreach and much more," Jose Tirado, first deputy director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said Tuesday during a joint press conference with NASCAR officials and other agencies.
More than a dozen street and sidewalk closures have already gone into effect for street race and music festival, set to take place in and around Grant Park July 1 and 2, with the biggest closures yet to come. After the event, some streets and sidewalks may not fully reopen until July 15, officials noted. MORE: Grandstands across from Buckingham Fountain for NASCAR Chicago Street Race begin to take shape
Those closures — which include shutting down parts of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive — had previously been announced. Additional ones, including lane reductions on Chicago Avenue and Randolph Street, had not.
"The street closures, as they stand mainly, are for the race course itself," NASCAR officials said Tuesday. "There are going to be some other street closures outside the perimeter or the footprint just based on the race course itself."
On top of the closures, officials said they expect roughly 50,000 people to attend each day of the two-day event.
As preparations get underway, here’s a breakdown of the road closures still upcoming, other road closures that were newly announced, and how the city expects visitors to get to — or around — the event.
NASCAR’s next major road closures
At least a dozen road closures are still planned in the coming weeks leading up to the July event. But the one with the greatest impact is set to come June 28, officials say.
"So, the major street closure here is Wednesday, June 28th," NASCAR said. "We have implemented a merging taper, similar that you see on other construction sites or even on the Kennedy, using barrels to taper traffic down based on the southbound Lakeshore Drive closure that will start near North Avenue."
"There will be plenty of variable message boards in addition to media outreach to advise drivers how to get around the area," NASCAR added.
Beginning at 10 a.m. that day, a curb lane closure is slated to start on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt Road for track barrier installation.
Additionally, “traffic will be reduced to one lane near Chicago Avenue, and traffic will get off at Grand with a merging taper down to one lane at Randolph,” officials continued.
According to authorities, this new traffic pattern will remain in place until July 4.
"The other closure, northbound Lakeshore Drive, begins Saturday, July 1st. That's race day -- at 4 a.m.," officials said. "Similarly, emerging taper, reducing traffic to two lanes near 47th down to one at 31st."
Getting around the museum campus
According to NASCAR officials, those heading on northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive to the museum campus and lakefront harbors “must exit at I-55,” ahead of McCormick Place.
However, "vehicles requiring access to the museum campus, harbors, lakefront area can exit at 31st, utilizing Fort Dearborn to 18th Street. That gives them access then to the campus and then in reverse," officials said.
Another option is to "take 18th Street and then head southbound either onto Lake Shore Drive, or onto I-55," officials added.
Last month, the Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum — all positioned near NASCAR street race territory — released a joint statement about how the about how the event is expected to impact their hours and operations.
“With thousands of participants and spectators along the route, as well as street closures prior and during the race, those traveling downtown and from the surrounding neighborhoods should allow extra time, expect delays, or consider alternate routes to avoid the impacts of the race,” the statement read in part.
What streets will remain open?
According to First Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Transportation Tom Carney, “DuSable Lake Shore Drive northbound will remain open from South Shore Drive to the I-55 merger. Lakeshore Drive southbound will remain open from Hollywood Boulevard to Randolph Street.”
Additionally, lanes on the Dan Ryan Expressway, the Kennedy Expressway, the Eisenhower Expressway and the Stevenson Expressway will “remain open in both directions,” Carney said.
When asked if the long-term Kennedy Expressway construction project — currently made up of reduced lanes inbound, and closed express lanes outbound — would be paused, Carney said Chicago’s Department of Transportation “has been having ongoing conversations with IDOT about not only that weekend, but a variety of events and ways to accelerate the work out there and to make adjustments for not only this event, but a whole series of events coming to the city this summer and continuing into 2024.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.
According to Carney, most local roads and corridors of the downtown central business district will remain open.
"You'll see State Street, Dearborn, Clark, LaSalle, Wells Street, Franklin," all open, Carney said. "And you have Upper and Lower Wacker Drive. Additionally, a lot of the east-west corridors -- Randolph, Washington, Madison, Roosevelt, West of Michigan, 18th Street and Cermak will also be available."
When will street closures end?
According to a press release from the OEMC, “motorists in the areas around Grant Park and the Loop during the week leading up to and during race weekend should be prepared for heavy traffic and possible reroutes.”
Here’s the full reopening schedule, according to NASCAR:
At the end of the 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.