CHICAGO (WLS) — Road closures are back in place on Saturday evening after Friday night Mexican Independence Day celebrations caused gridlocked traffic in the Loop.
OEMC said the Central Business District, from Division to 18th streets and from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Hasted Street, is closed due to large car caravans.
The streets will be closed intermittently throughout Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Officials said their plan does not include raising bridges, which, in the past, has been controversial.
The closures, however, have not stopped people from celebrating on foot. People have been marching through the streets, blasting fireworks, blaring horns and finding any way they can to celebrate the holiday.
Some people told ABC7 that the Chicago Police Department has done a decent job keeping things controlled. ABC7 has seen cars across the city pushed away from downtown streets and onto the expressways.
Of course, like every weekend, there are other things going on, like concerts and shows. And, getting to those events has been extremely difficult for many people on Saturday night.
“Oh, my goodness. It feels like we walked for 45-50 minutes to an hour,” said Homewood resident Teniellie Are, who attended a concert on Saturday evening.
“We were actually on 55, going to 290 and we couldn’t even go. They took us off the road,” said Tinley Park resident Maurae Gilbert McCants. “So, I think, I’m all for celebrating, all for all of that. But, I think, some conveniences need to be made so they can get to concerts.”
There is no definitive time table for how long those streets will be closed, but CPD said people who live or work in the affected area, including all critical care workers, will be allowed to enter at one of the access points. However, many people trying to access the checkpoints have reported difficulties getting through.
The following access points to downtown are open to residents and employees:
-North Halsted and West Division
-North Halsted and West Chicago
-North Halsted and West Washington
-North Halsted and West Madison
-South Halsted and South Jackson
-West Roosevelt and South Union
-18th Street and South State
-18th Street and South Michigan
-18th Street and South Indiana
-West Division and North LaSalle
This comes after revelers celebrating the holiday blocked traffic for hours on Friday evening, making it virtually impossible to enter or leave downtown.
People packed the middle of city streets and fireworks erupted with a visible heavy police presence seen standing by. ABC7 did not see any CPD officers make attempts to clear the roads so traffic could flow.
RELATED | Large downtown area closed to traffic as Mexican Independence Day celebrations kick off in Chicago
An Illinois State Police car was struck around 10:40 p.m. while it was set up for a ramp closure on I-90 at Washington Street, police said. The ISP car had moved to make way for an emergency vehicle when a civilian vehicle attempted to follow, striking the rear of the ISP squad car. The trooper in the vehicle was not injured.
The driver, 31-year-old Jose Lazo, was cited for a violation of Scott’s Law, or improper passing of an emergency vehicle and driving with an expired license.
The gridlock, which has been seen in previous years’ celebrations, continued despite city snowplows blocking major arteries into the city, including at the Kennedy and other expressways, in an attempt tp restrict access to downtown.
Traffic was reopened in the city’s Central Business District by 2:30 a.m. Saturday before closing again in the evening, OEMC said.
RELATED | Mexican Independence Day events in Chicago to offer special celebration of heritage, culture
The city has asked revelers to celebrate responsibly, and, most importantly, to let first responders through traffic if they are flashing their lights.
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