Illinois Roads - US 41

US 41 and Lake Shore Drive

After leaving US 12/20 (see big link at bottom), US 41 NB crosses the Calumet River on Ewing Ave., the southeasternmost road crossing of an incredible number of drawbridges around Chicago. The traffic signals spell out "STOP" in red letters vertically, with a solid lens on either side at the top.

SB across the bridge, and looking east at the last Calumet River crossing before Lake Michigan, which happens to be for a railroad.

Lake Shore Drive (or LSD, as it is amusingly called to facilitate humor) SB with a fancy median past the Museum of Science and Industry at 57th Drive; the museum sits atop the location of 57th Street in the grid, so Chicago had to get slightly creative. LSD began life as a quad-carriageway beast, keeping express traffic on the inside and local traffic on the outside. That setup was demolished in pieces, so that now it's just four lanes each way of no-rules traffic, like FDR Drive in Manhattan but wider and with traffic lights south of downtown. There are plans in place to slow traffic down with lower speed limits and/or removing interchanges, but I and many Chicagoans hope those never come to be.

SB from the Field Museum, which sits at the south end of what might be considered the edge of downtown, past decorative overpasses at Columbus Drive (coming in from the right)/McFetridge Drive (across), Waldron Dr., 31st St., and Oakwood Blvd. LSD was truly made in the mold of a New York parkway.

Between the two lamps floating among those images, you would find this poorly proportioned and manufactured advance sign for the beginning of this major Interstate.

The double-decker Link Bridge, southbound on the top level. The longest and widest bascule bridge in the world when it was built in 1937, it even has a lower level now (as of the rebuild in the 1980s that took away the sharp downtown curves at Wacker Drive) to add to the enormousness.

The lower level was built for railroad capacity that never arrived, so it only (awkwardly) has three roadways. The one I'm in is the westernmost, and carries 2 dedicated SB lanes to Wacker Dr. (both Upper and Lower, despite this being the lower level of the bridge, with a ramp split downstream). The center one takes 2 SB lanes back to Lake Shore Drive SB, and the eastern one has 2 NB lanes from Wacker and Randolph St. There's a signal there, so that only 2 lanes of NB traffic are coming at a time.

NB across the lower level, which splits with an exit ramp to Illinois St. and Grand Ave.

South of the Link Bridge, I noted the sharp "S" curves in the previous caption. Once US 41 had jogged sharply west, it headed due south into its current alignment and right between these two concrete pedestals along Randolph St. Ignore the newer but classical columns erected in the middle to try to give the pedestals a sense of place.

From the south end of the old alignment, you can see the columns where the highway went north. It continued between the two shorter buildings in the background and then swerved right in front of the tall ones in back.

North Water Street's highly unusual stub end, looking from US 41 eastward toward the Navy Pier in Chicago, courtesy Doug Kerr. I guess maybe at one point the Pier was a dump and this street just crossed onto it and fed a bunch of warehouses or the like.

US 41 SB bows out into Lake Michigan south of Division St. Michigan Ave. stays straight, following the original shoreline. This is not what a curve sign normally looks like; this is reserved for EXIT or RAMP signs.

You know what this is. You don't know that it was snowing when I took most of these SB photos, but now you do. LSD is the poster child for old highways separating people from the shoreline.

Lake Shore Drive SB over Bryn Mawr Ave. and Foster Ave. The latter is where US 41 joins LSD. There's not a lot of Lake Shore without US 41 before it ends into Hollywood Ave. The original highway ended at Foster Ave. into the 1950s, which may explain why US 41 still drops off before the end. Some plans would have taken LSD up the shoreline, as far as Wisconsin, or even to WIS 794 in Milwaukee. At the very least, this could be a high number like IL 541.

South of the US 41 SB merge, a like-styled pedestrian bridge over Diversey Harbor, albeit a replica that dates to around the turn of the millennium, and then a more original bridge over Fullerton Ave.

Courtesy Doug Kerr, US 41 gets one chance to enjoy button copy because it merges with I-94 before entering Wisconsin. They stay together until Milwaukee.

US 20 and US 41/12/20

Into Indiana on US 41
Into Wisconsin on US 41
See more Calumet River bridges
Onto I-55
Onto Wacker Drive
Onto I-94
See more of Chicago
Back to Illinois Roads
Back to Roads