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South Lake Shore Drive (US-41) Reconstruction

Chicago, Illinois

Market Sector

Surface Transportation


Roadway Design

Services Provided




South Lake Shore Drive (US 41) functions as a major arterial from the south side of the city of Chicago to the downtown area, carrying upwards of 115,000 vehicles per day. The City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed to reconstruct South Lake Shore Drive, from just north of the I-55 interchange (matching an earlier project just south of Chicago’s “Loop”) to Marquette Drive (67th Street) on the south.

South Lake Shore Drive functions as both a major transportation route and as a park roadway, as it is located immediately adjacent to the shore of Lake Michigan and passes through historic Burnham and Jackson Parks. The reconstruction project replaced and upgraded the roadway and also removed many “expressway” type features to make it more consistent with the park setting. The Phase I study conducted by IDOT served as the basis for the design.

T.Y. Lin International (TYLI) was responsible for designing the Burnham Park section, which extends from 55th Street on the south to 23rd Street on the north. The overall proposed scope of improvements included complete pavement replacement of the six-to-eight lane roadway, with moderate vertical and horizontal modifications. The existing 31st Street bridge over South Lake Shore Drive was reconstructed, the Oakwood Boulevard bridge over the road was rehabilitated, and the existing pedestrian underpass at 55th Street was replaced. The entire drainage system was upgraded to meet current regulations, including limiting storm water flows to adjacent Lake Michigan. Roadway safety measures included new “Chicago Wall”-type medians and new roadway pavement marking and signs. Since this section transverses through a historic lakefront park, landscaping and architectural features were important design considerations.

Key Concerns

  • Approach the design with a sensitivity to enhancing the public and civic realm of the lakefront parks that are undergoing a revitalization
  • Develop a solution that is cost effective and maintainable
  • Work with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Streetscapes, as well as the Lake Shore Drive Advisory Council and the local aldermen to achieve the overall high quality aesthetic standards of the City
  • Design any traffic improvements to provide a safe and efficient movement through this busy corridor
  • Prepare a design to minimize delays to motoring public
Pride Award, 2006
American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
Honor Award, 2005
American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL)
Excellence Award for Highway Design, 2004
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Project of the Year Award, 2004
American Public Works Association (APWA) Chicago Metro Chapter