Construction Update
A River Runs Next To It

Chicago Riverwalk construction

Construction crews continue their work along the Chicago River turning a bunch of colored pencil sketches into the city’s newest tourist attraction and public amenity.  There have been dozens of plans floated (ha!) for turning the river’s edge into something more over the decades, but this is the first one in a long time that’s actually being built.

Loop Spy Daniel sent in this panorama of the work being done just east of LaSalle Street.  That’s the portion that will be known as The River Theater.  You can see the old edge of the river walkway, and the expanded section penned in by sheet pilings.  The Chicago Department of Transportation describes it thusly:

Drawing of the Chicago Riverwalk's River Theater section

Drawing of the Chicago Riverwalk’s River Theater section

The River Theater will serve as the location for the vertical access between Upper Wacker and the Riverwalk level.

When finished, this section will be mostly stairs dotted with shade trees, leading all the way down to the river’s edge.  At the street level, the graceful balustrade will be replaced with concrete bollards separating Wacker from water.

The latest construction update from CDOT describes the current work as the “Installation of the waler and tie-backs on the new sheet pile wall between La Salle Street and State Street continues this week. The contractor will also continue to install new drainage structures along the Riverwalk. In addition, formwork for construction of the sheet pile cap will continue this week. “

Location: West Wacker Drive at LaSalle Street, The Loop

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Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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