Durbin, Army Corps and City Officials Cut Ribbon on Montrose to Irving Park Section of Chicago Shoreline Protection Project

CHICAGO – Another major portion of the Chicago Shoreline Protection Project is now open, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and officials from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Park District (CPD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Montrose Avenue to Irving Park Road section of the project. This section is part of the ongoing effort to restore and secure 9.5 miles of deteriorated revetment. The project, which Durbin has championed since the mid-1990s, protects the lakefront from erosion and flood damage and improves access for recreational use by rebuilding a running trail.

“Chicagoans consistently rank Lake Michigan as one of Chicago’s most important assets, and we must continue our long history of protecting this beautiful resource. The Chicago Shoreline Project is a partnership between the federal and local government to build the infrastructure necessary to keep this lakefront protected, free and open to the public,” Durbin said. “The portion of the project we opened today increases access to the lakeshore for recreational use while protecting it from erosion, saving millions in maintenance costs. I thank the Army Corps, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District for their hard work and look forward to continuing this important collaboration.”

“It has been our privilege to be part of the team working to rebuild the shoreline to benefit the city and the nation,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Lovell, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District. “Working together we have helped to rebuild the lakefront areas to prevent erosion, improve public access and ensure continued use for residents and visitors.”

“Chicago’s magnificent lakefront shoreline is one of our greatest assets,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “These kinds of infrastructure investments that we see here at Montrose Harbor and elsewhere along our lakefront ensure that our system of parks and beaches, and Lake Shore Drive, are not vulnerable every time a big storm hits us. We are very grateful for the support from our Congressional delegation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that is making it possible to both improve our shoreline and protect it for generations to come.”

“Thanks to leadership of Senator Durbin and our partnership with the City of Chicago and Army Corps, our lakefront is being protected for future generations," said Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO for the Chicago Park District. “We hope to see these investments continue in areas like North to Oak Street where flooding incidents and damage to the lakefront trail happen annually,” he said.

The Chicago Shoreline Protection Project is a capital improvement project which is reconstructing 9.5 miles of deteriorated stair step revetment, many of which were built in the early 1900s. In the 1990s, Durbin worked with the City of Chicago and USACE to approve a plan to rebuild the shoreline which had deteriorated and no longer functioned to protect against storms, flooding and erosion. The project provides $145 million in annual flood reduction benefits.

Project highlights of the $11.4 million reconstruction of this section between Montrose and Irving Park include:
• Repair and reuse of the existing 2,200 feet of rubble mound structure
• Salvaged stones set at the upper level in stair-step formation
• Repair and backfill behind revetment to re-establish the gravel running path.
• Resurfacing of the fishing pier including universal ramp access
• Termination of existing steel sheet pile concrete section with universal ramp access
• Backshore grading to direct overtopping water back to the lake

Twenty of the 23 segments of the shoreline protection project have been completed, which began in 2000. The new design maintains safe access to the shoreline while preserving its historical and aesthetic value. The total cost of the Chicago shoreline protection project is now estimated at $536 million, funded by the USACE, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and the State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources.