The Chainlink

Lakefront Trail Turned Into ‘Piles Of Asphalt’ In Places After Weekend Storm

The hardest hit areas likely won't be fixed until spring, a CDOT official said.

LINCOLN PARK — Bike commuters and lakefront joggers on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail between Navy Pier and Fullerton Avenue faced a series of obstacles on Monday — leftover debris from weekend storms that battered Chicago’s shoreline from Rogers Park to South Shore.

Pictures and videos of the storm flooded social media. By Monday afternoon, Chicago Park District maintenance crews had largely cleared the debris, but commuters will likely deal with hardest hit areas until the spring.

Park District spokeswoman Irene Tostado said the trail is open but users should remain cautious.

“The lakefront trail is currently open, but users should heed the warning signs as crews will be working to remove debris from the trail, as needed. Users should be aware of missing asphalt south of Fullerton Ave. and also between Ohio St. and Oak St. We are currently assessing damage along the entire lakefront,” she said, “… It will take some time to provide a timeline for repairs.”

Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Claffey clarified that the Park District will repair the trail, but not in the winter. “The asphalt plants that produce hot asphalt are not open until the weather warms up,” he said.

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Yep, that's what I saw this morning...

Not as bad as the storm on Halloween 2014 but with winter here there's no time to fix it for a while. The trail north of Oak Street Beach was torn up or buried in sand all the way to Fullerton.

That was when work had just started on the flyover, too.

My favorite memory from that day. I'd ridden through there maybe fifteen minutes earlier but was much luckier.

Going home that night Lake Shore Drive was closed, let alone the path. Riding into the wind north of Fullerton in the dark was its own adventure.

Why keep laying asphalt down instead of using the concrete?

Asphalt is more flexible, has more traction and is much easier to replace. Look in some places and you'll see cobblestones under the asphalt/concrete that first paved the waterfront in the late 19th century.

The problem is the morons use asphalt to fill in the concrete and concrete to fill in the asphalt.

And if you think that's bad ride up to Montrose.

The lake level is up nearly 3 feet.

Hopefully the brilliant parks dept will cut down all the trees and build an even bigger wall to stop the rise of the lake before it floods with salt water from the Oceans via the St. Lawrence seaway.

But if it's un-rideable just take an Uber.

For that part of the LFT, which is basically still a seawall, it really should be concrete because of the wave vulnerability.  To ride on a smooth surface without seams, asphalt is way more pleasant and desirable.  (concrete has those darned seams like we see on sidewalks) 

Some of their choice is timing and budget.  The concrete's generally way more durable and expensive, and for original/large designs it's a great choice when there's a budget for it.  The lakefront trail around the Shedd aquarium is concrete for example, as are the underpass/connectors around 56th Street by the Field Museum on the south side, and the concrete is seen on either side of some of the areas where the trail asphalt got torn up. Concrete can be "broomed" and grooved as is done with city sidewalks and streets so the traction can be good when put down properly.  But for repair and renovation work, the asphalt is somewhat quick, easy and comparatively cheap to remove and replace.  There's a patchwork of both all over the city streets, which has its own problems because the two materials flex differently.  

Too bad they couldn't donate a lane of Lake Shore Drive for awhile since the path is broken.


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