Restoring Lower Wacker

One of the parts of the city that most tourists never get to see is Lower Wacker Drive. Wacker Drive is the road that runs around the Loop along the line of the river. It is on two levels with Upper Wacker being normal street level and Lower Wacker sits directly beneath it. Half of Lower Wacker was rebuilt before we moved to the city but the other half was in an unrestored state for many years. If you watched the first of the Christian Bale Batman movies, you will have seen Lower Wacker in all of its darkness. (Go further back and the Blues Brothers movie also provided a tour of this area in the final car chase.)

I like Lower Wacker as it provides a bypass to get to the Eisenhower Expressway while avoiding the worst of the traffic – at least it did. Then they closed it for a progressive rebuilding program. This has been going on for a couple of years and is now about to be concluded. I have not been paying a lot of attention to the rebuild but I have taken a look whenever I have been passing by. The work has been a rolling program gradually moving down the length of the road. A section has been closed off while everything was diverted around it. Then the whole process would shift a few blocks further south. When I was up on the top of the Sears, I had a great view of the bottom of the drive from above. It was clear that everything was nearly done. Now I get to wait until I first can drive the new road. I have heard they have calmed the traffic flow down there which is probably a good idea but a little disappointing!

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