The project encompasses the following elements of the Wacker Drive Reconstruction Project, a major initiative to improve transportation along Wacker Drive, strengthen intermodal links, and establish a continuous pedestrian walkway along the south bank of the Chicago River:
- Wacker Drive - Full reconstruction of Upper and Lower Wacker Drive from Randolph Street to Congress Drive
- Riverwalk Expansion Phases 1, 2, and 3 - Adjacent to Wacker Drive from Michigan Avenue to Lake Street, along the south bank of the Main Branch of the Chicago River
The Riverwalk is a planned public walkway along the banks of the Chicago River, connecting the lakefront with downtown Chicago. When complete, it will extend 0.7 miles from Michigan Avenue to Lake Street. The one-block portion from Michigan to Wabash Avenue was constructed by CDOT in 2009 using tax-increment financing. The remaining Riverwalk phases comprise the six blocks from State Street to Lake Street. Although each block will be separated by an existing bridge that crosses the Chicago River, the blocks will be connected by at-grade under-bridge connections, providing six continuous blocks of pedestrian walkway along the river. Each block will feature a distinct theme. Design elements include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant access, public seating, sustainable native plant landscaping, and recreational spaces. Landscaping will replace the industrial seawall and provide habitat protection and restoration of the Chicago River.
The project will enhance safety for pedestrians with bicycle paths and pedestrian trails along the continuous promenade. Additional design elements include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant access, public seating, sustainable native plant landscaping, and recreational spaces. The promenade will also strengthen intermodal links to public transportation facilities provided by the Chicago Transit Authority and Metro Commuter rail.