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The Lakefront Path's Gnarly Bottleneck At Fullerton Will Be Eased By A 6-Acre Park

By Margaret Paulson in Miscellaneous on Jul 31, 2015 8:34PM

This photo by Steven Vance shows the hazards encountered at certain points along the lakefront trail on an average day.

If you’re a long-distance biker or runner and frequent the lakefront trails on the North Side, you’re probably aware of how ambling tourists, serious bikers and runners, and all other types of lakefront traffic create a pretty gnarly bottleneck right at Fullerton Avenue.

It doesn’t help that the Theatre On the Lake is right there in the middle of it all. But you’ve also probably noticed something else super annoying is going on at the Fullerton lake path: construction, one of Chicago’s most notorious seasons (second only to winter).

But hold up! The construction on the lake at Fullerton, while annoying, is set to change everything. When finished in summer 2016, it will have added nearly 6 acres of land to the area, according to city planners.

The project began last October, though the bulk of the work began in April. The project involves filling in lake Michigan with gravel and dredged material. So far, 25 percent of the outlined area has been filled, and project managers told the Tribune they expect the area to be completely filled and prepared for landscaping by Nov. 30. The final landscaping will be completed next summer.

Aside from fixing the traffic jam, the project is also meant to protect the lakefront from erosion. Workers are building a 30-foot-deep, 1,700-foot-long concrete wall called a revetment to prevent major flooding. Last Oct. 31, after torrential downpours and storms for days, a flood shut down the lakeshore path at Fullerton. The plan is to prevent that from happening again.

The project costs $31.5 million and is funded by the city and the Army Corps of Engineers.