The Lakefront and Storm Damage Reduction and Erosion Control Project is a collaborative effort between the MWRD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District (USACE), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Park District working to restore a section of the Lake Michigan shoreline battered during heavy winter storms. Additional funds contributed by the MWRD were used to provide riprap stone and an 800-foot-long concrete revetment to enhance the already ongoing shoreline protection and lakefront trail improvements.
The shoreline restoration is along Lake Michigan near Morgan Shoal, between 47th to 51st streets. The work supplements emergency protection measures that were completed in early 2020 following a massive storm that occurred Jan. 10-11, 2020. The storm and ensuing waves damaged the lakefront following historically high lake levels in 2020. As a result, part of the pavement along the lakefront trail buckled. Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot issued a local disaster proclamation due to significant flooding and major damage to the shoreline, infrastructure and recreational areas. Thanks to $1.5 million in funding from the MWRD, project partners were able to procure 150 precast concrete blocks weighing 11 tons each, and 1200 tons of riprap stone used to protect the shoreline.
The shoreline is now secure, resilient and open for visitors. The new trail is complete and open for walking and running. An additional trail west of the walking trail and east of Lake Shore Drive also accommodates bikers. To learn more about trail accessibility, visit the Chicago Park District’s website.
Following the January 2020 storms, project partners began planning a solution to restore the coastline and stabilize the erosion. The MWRD entered into an intergovernmental agreement with CDOT in September 2020 to provide the additional funding needed to address the full scope of the emergency work to be performed by the USACE in partnership with CDOT. The work lasted about six weeks during spring of 2021 and was completed by May.