NASCAR street closures in South Loop begin this weekend

By Ruth Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

Ruth Johnson

This weekend marks the beginning of road closures as NASCAR sets up for its Chicago race, which takes place during the first weekend of July. 

Starting Saturday, June 10, Ida B. Wells Drive will be closed east of Michigan Avenue, and will remain closed until Monday, July 10. This stretch of Ida B. Wells Drive near the Columbia campus will accommodate the main viewing areas for the race.

NASCAR is running a street race in Chicago’s downtown with a festival line-up accompanying it. For the first time, NASCAR’s Cup Series will take place on a street course July 2, with drivers racing 100 laps on the city track; a shorter “rising stars” race will happen July 1. The start/finish line will be right in front of Buckingham Fountain.

How this may affect commuting: With the closure beginning east of Michigan Avenue, the majority of public transportation routes will remain unchanged; all CTA train routes will be unaffected.

Those commuting to campus by car should expect traffic delays, particularly when southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive closes June 28.

Parking restrictions along Columbia Drive started already last week. 

What is not affected: The Park District will keep “over half” of Grant Park open for public access throughout the NASCAR construction and event. Maggie Daley Park, the Museum Campus, and popular features like the Buckingham Fountain will all remain publicly accessible.

Details and dates for each individual closure, both temporary and longer-term, can be viewed on the City of Chicago website. NASCAR’s traffic brief can be viewed here.

This is the beginning of the Chronicle’s on-going coverage of NASCAR.