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Photos: The Last Phase Of Riverwalk Construction Is Once Again Underway

By Mae Rice in News on Apr 15, 2016 2:49PM

Current construction on the Riverwalk (photo by Kate Joyce Studios)

Construction has picked up again on the final segments of the $100 million Riverwalk expansion—hence the unusual number of barges you may have noticed in the Chicago River. Work on this segment, which runs from LaSalle and Lake, began last June and is scheduled to finish late this year. Once finished, this stretch will feature floating gardens, fishing piers, and a children's fountain, according to plans outlined by the city.

These plans for the 1.25-mile Riverwalk—which runs along the South Branch of the river from the lakefront to central downtown—give each block of the walk a different theme and design. Right now, workers are building out three blocks that the city refers to as "The Water Plaza" (LaSalle to Wells), "The Jetty" (Wells to Franklin), and "The Boardwalk" (Franklin to Lake). The Water Plaza will feature a "zero-depth children's fountain," and the Jetty will have those floating gardens and piers. The Boardwalk, meanwhile, will center on a wheelchair-accessible ramp connecting Upper Wacker and the Riverwalk. (We've posted renderings below.)

The entire Riverwalk expansion project is just one component of the $419.5 million Wacker Drive reconstruction project, which first began in 1990s, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Two new blocks of the Riverwalk opened last May, just before construction first began on the current segment.

A rendering of the Riverwalk's "Water Plaza" block (Chicago Department of Transportation)

A rendering of the Riverwalk's "Jetty" block (Chicago Department of Transportation)

A rendering of the Riverwalk's "Boardwalk" block (Chicago Department of Transportation)