Skip to main content

Great Lakes Road Trip Day 10 Part 1; downtown Chicago, the end of US Route 66 and Chicago Skyway

I started the day out using US 41 to reach I-94 to head southbound in downtown Chicago.  I picked up I-90 after a couple miles and followed it to the Grand Avenue exit where I headed east towards Navy Pier.  I had to swing down to Illinois to reach the Pier since traffic turned to westbound only on Grand Avenue.


I actually ran along Lake Michigan on Lake Shore drive while heading through all the downtown parks for terminus points of US 66.



I stopped first at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Drive which was the 1938 to 1976 eastern terminus of US 66.  US 41 was rerouted off of Michigan Avenue in 1938 onto Lake Shore Drive after the Outer Drive Bridge over the Chicago River had been completed.  This is why US 66 was extended over from Jackson Boulevard on Jackson Drive so it would continue to meet US 41 at Lake Shore Drive.


Jackson Drive looking westbound at what was US 66 from 1938 to 1976.



Next was the original eastern terminus and western start of US 66 at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue.  This would have been the eastern terminus of US 66 prior to 1938, the route is actually signed with a historic shield.



Despite what many think the original start of US 66 was not at Adams Street and Michigan Avenue, nor did it ever start there.  In 1955 Jackson Boulevard was shifted to a eastbound-only alignment and westbound traffic for US 66 was routed onto Adams Streets.  US 66 would have started at Lake Shore Drive, took Jackson Drive west to Michigan Avenue before turning north for a street before turning west onto Adams Street.  The historic signage on Adams indicates that it was the start of US 66.


Aside from the terminus points of US 66 I was in Chicago to do a distance run in down through Grant Park, Lake Shore Drive, and the Navy Pier.  I haven't been back to downtown Chicago in two decades so it was a little surreal to see everything I remembered in downtown in high school.
















To leave downtown I took Lake Shore Drive/US 41 onto the start of I-55.   I took I-55 to I-90/94 and split westbound on I-90 onto the Chicago Skyway.




I haven't driven the Skyway since 2001.  I used to take the Skyway to visit my Dad in downtown once I got my license in high school.  At the time I was living in Lansing out in Michigan and it was a hell of a drive for someone just starting out driving.  The Skyway wasn't it very good shape when I was actively using it so I was curious to see what the rebuilt road from the early 2000s.  I was a little surprised to see 45 MPH and 55 MPH speed limit signs but the road surface was in substantially better shape than it used to be.  I don't know the specifics of the Skyway rebuild but it feel way wider than it used to be.  Interestingly the Chicago Skyway was originally signed as I-94 when it opened in 1958 and switched to I-90 in 1963.









The end of the Skyway is not only the end of the city limits of Chicago but also the state line with Indiana.  Given my destination was in Ohio, I was in for a long drive east on the toll roads.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Horace Wilkinson Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

Standing tall across from downtown Baton Rouge, the Horace Wilkinson Bridge carries Interstate 10 across the lower Mississippi River between West Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parishes. Unusually, the bridge is actually named for three separate people; three generations of Horace Wilkinsons who served in the Louisiana State Legislature over a combined period of 54 years. Constructed in the 1960s and opened to traffic in 1968, this is one of the largest steel bridges on the lower Mississippi. It’s also the tallest bridge across the Mississippi, with its roadway reaching 175 ft at the center span. Baton Rouge is the northernmost city on the river where deep-water, ocean-going vessels can operate. As a result, this bridge is the northernmost bridge on the river of truly gigantic proportions. Altogether, the bridge is nearly 2 ½ miles long and its massive truss superstructure is 4,550 ft long with a center main truss span of 1,235 ft. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge is one of the largest

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh