As spring makes its mark on the city, there’s plenty to do around town. From witnessing the blooming tulips on Michigan Avenue to the cherry blossom trees at Jackson Park, tulip festivals, galore, and plenty of other warm-weather activities.
This week, one of the most beloved traditions is also returning. Set your calendars for April 15th as the official first bridge lift of the season is set to occur this Saturday starting at 8 a.m. All bridge lifts are subject to boat traffic, with the departure time set for early Saturday morning.
Bridges from Lake Shore Drive to Ashland Avenue will be raised starting this weekend. Subsequently, all Chicago bridges will be raised sequentially by the CDOT, which oversees every seasonal bridge lift.
This year’s event begins at Yacht Yards and travels to Van Buren Street bridge approximately in approximately 1.5 hours. This weekend, see a parade of summertime boats float down the Chicago River as the massive bridges open thanks to two or more small but mighty 125 horsepower motors.
To accommodate sailboats and other tall vessels traveling the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Chicago raises its bridges approximately 40 times a year, starting in April and going to November. These spectacular bridges range in age from West Randolph Street’s 28 years to West Washington Avenue’s 99 years in operation.
The Du Sable Bridge at N. Michigan Ave. is often the most famous bridge lift, with photographers lining up to capture the big moment.
Chicagoans often line the streets to witness the magic of a bridge opening, and for good reason: there’s nothing else like it in the city. As for why the bridges are movable, to begin with, well, that has to do with the number of bridges needed for traffic back in the day, and making movable bridges the most practical solution as the city became a major transportation hub.
Start times from Yacht Yards begin at 8 a.m. on weekends and 9 a.m. on weekdays. Check out the full schedule here. and make spring-tastic weekend plans with any number of exciting events happening this month.
[Featured photo via: The Chicago Architecture Center]