Every year, residents and tourists experience the Chicago bridges lifting up for the famous “Bridge Run” as they are walking or driving around the city. This tradition has been going on for decades and can be a great outing if you have some time on your hands. We also know that people have places to be and that it might be good to know what happens and when.

Either way, we’ve got you covered. Here are some details on the schedule, fun facts and other need-to-know tidbits that you might find helpful.

chicago boats

When do the bridges go up and what do I need to know?

Every Wednesday and Saturday from now through June 30, 2018.

Wednesday’s – 9:30am
Saturday’s – 8:00am

Note: The Amtrak Bridge is on-call 24hrs a day, 365 days a year. If you need to have this bridge open, you must call (312) 655-2242.

During this time, each bridge will raise in order. Each bridge lift takes anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes. There are 27 bridges from South Ashland Avenue to Lake Shore Drive.

Traffic will be stopped at the bridges, but there will be alternate routes open to get around.

What is the purpose of the Bridge Run?

During the Spring months each year, sailboats and larger cruisers are making their way from their storage yards to the harbor for the season. Once Fall hits in September, they begin this process again twice a week to allow boats to travel back into storage for the winter months.

How long has this been going on for?

This tradition started back in the 1800’s. Chicago became a very busy crossway on the water route from Buffalo, NY to the Mississippi River. The very first bridges that were built in 1840 started out as floating swing bridges. This type created issues, as they were difficult to move. The next style attempt was easier to open but did not allow for larger vessels to pass through. As you can tell, it was a very trial-and-error approach for a bit!

From there, the bridge process began to evolve as the years went on. You can read up on more history around the evolution here.

What else do I need to know?

Fun Fact! Go check out the Amtrak Bridge. This bridge is over 100 years old and is the only bridge that still rises up vertically in the downtown Chicago area and remains to be historically preserved.

Can you help me navigate this?

Absolutely! Our team is happy to help with any questions you may have about this process. CYW‘s own Nancy Bereckis participates with some of our customers, so we have all the info you need.

If you need assistance, just comment below or reach out at info@chicagoyachtworks.com.