The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is reminding everyone to be safe and vigilant for the City of Chicago’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks, especially in crowds and to report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1. The 1.5-mile-long free fireworks display will begin at midnight and can be viewed along the Chicago River from Wolf Point near the Franklin/Orleans Street bridge to the east of Columbus Drive to Navy Pier. For public safety, the Riverwalk will be closed early to pedestrian traffic preceding the fireworks. The display can also be viewed live on WGN-TV.
Fireworks on the Chicago River
With increased health and safety measures in place, fireworks will be launched from five bridges and two river launch points along the Main Branch of the Chicago River. OEMC is urging pedestrians, motorists, spectators and residents to be aware that streets and bridges in the Central Business District will close to all traffic as early as 11 p.m. on Friday, December 31 and anticipate reopening at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 1. Complete details are provided below along with CTA and watercraft impacts. Note: Closures are subject to change if necessary due to public safety and operational needs.
Street, Bridge and Riverwalk Closures
- Beginning at 4 p.m., sidewalks will close to pedestrians on one side of each of the following bridges (pedestrians will have access to the sidewalk on the remaining side of the bridge and be able to cross until the bridges are closed for the display launch between 11-11:30 p.m.): Franklin/Orleans Street bridge (west sidewalk), Lasalle Street bridge (east sidewalk), Clark Street bridge (east sidewalk), Dearborn Street bridge (west sidewalk), and State Street bridge (east sidewalk).
- At 4 p.m., the Chicago Riverwalk will close east of State Street to all pedestrian traffic. The remainder of the Riverwalk west of State Street will close based on public safety. Viewing will not be allowed from the Chicago Riverwalk.
- Beginning at 11 p.m., expect complete closures of the Franklin/Orleans Street, Lasalle Street, Clark Street, Dearborn Street, and State Street bridges to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
- Also, at 11:00 p.m., eastbound Upper, Middle and Lower Wacker Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic from Lake Street to Stetson Avenue. Pedestrian traffic and viewing from Upper Wacker Drive will be permitted.
- Streets and bridges are expected to reopen to vehicular traffic approximately 10 minutes after the fireworks display or when deemed safe to do so. We anticipate all bridges and streets to re-open by 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 1.
CTA Service Impact
- CTA will be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule on Friday, December 31st.
- Free Rides: CTA is once again providing free bus and rail rides beginning 10 p.m. Friday (12/31) until 4 a.m. Saturday (1/1); customers do not need to tap their Ventra Card or other payment methods to board buses or enter rail stations during this time (more info).
- Rail Service:
- Purple and Yellow line service hours will be extended until approx. 2 a.m.
- Bus Service:
- Expect complete closures of all bridges over the Chicago River between Franklin/Orleans Street Bridge and Lake Shore Drive for the fireworks display.
- Beginning as early as 10 p.m. and until as late as 2 a.m., the following CTA buses running North and South over the river will operate only to Wacker for the duration of the event: #3 King Drive, #6 Jackson Park Express, #22 Clark, #36 Broadway, #62 Archer, #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express, #147 Outer Drive Express, and #151 Sheridan.
- Other buses in the vicinity of the fireworks, including those serving Wacker Drive and Navy Pier are subject to temporary, rolling reroutes to adjacent streets.
- A complete listing of all CTA bus service impacts is available at www.transitchicago.com/travel-information/bus-status/
- Properly worn masks are required at all times while on CTA buses, trains and properties.
- Increased security measures will be in place.
- No boats are allowed to transit within the USCG Safety Zone which includes the area just west of the Franklin Street bridge and continuing east of the Columbus Drive bridge.
To learn more about the Chicago New Year’s Eve River Fireworks Celebration and view a full list of all official partners and event options, please visit nyeblast.com. OEMC will monitor all citywide events, activities, traffic, and weather conditions throughout the weekend from the Operations Center and coordinate public safety resources as needed with the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and City of Chicago infrastructure departments.
Report Suspicious Activity: If you See Something Say Something. The city reminds the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity. If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1. If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
COVID Guidance: The Chicago Department of Public Health encourages everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are by far the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus. Even if you are vaccinated, consider a COVID-19 test (either through a healthcare provider or at home) before gathering, and encourage guests to do the same before indoor holiday gatherings. Tests can help protect unvaccinated children, older individuals, those who are immunocompromised, or individuals at risk of severe disease. As a reminder, the mask mandate for Chicago and Illinois remains in effect and a mask is required at all public indoor settings across the city. Many venues will also require proof of vaccinations, or a negative COVID-19 test for entry. Effective Monday, January 3, 2022, any individual 5 years of age or older will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to dine indoors, visit gyms, or enjoy entertainment venues where food or drink are being served. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, are sick or experiencing any COVID- or flu-like symptoms; you should not attend any gatherings for New Year’s Eve, even if you are vaccinated. For more information on how to stay safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit chicago.gov/covid.
OEMC’s Private Sector Camera Initiative links Chicago retail, businesses and sister agencies to the city’s camera network that can provide OEMC and public safety agencies with additional points of contact in City that can be accessed during an emergency. For more information, see OEMC’s website at Chicago.gov/OEMC
Also, a new Smart911 feature is available to assist the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in better serving Chicago communities. Residents with an existing or new Smart911 safety profile can volunteer to share with police recorded home surveillance camara footage should a crime occur nearby or outside their residence. By simply opting in on an existing Smart911 profile or by creating a new profile at Smart911.com, residents can agree to share home surveillance camera footage by allowing the CPD to contact them in the event of a crime. All information is private.
Traffic Control Aides (TCAs) will be on hand to direct flow and impacts from heavy traffic. Public transportation is encouraged. For more information on CTA services and reroutes, visit www.transitchicago.com or call 312-836-7000 from any area code/1-888-YOUR-I CTA.
OEMC advises Chicagoans to be aware of weather conditions and to follow instructions and heed all warnings from public safety officials. We encourage residents to check the weather before heading out. For the most up-to-date weather information, please tune into local media or download a weather app.
OEMC will issue any alerts and notifications needed to keep residents and attendees up to date on weather conditions and emergencies. Sign up for NotifyChicago alerts at NotifyChicago.org. OEMC also issues TEXT alerts for lakefront notices, issues affecting businesses or COVID-19 updates:
- CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
- CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
- COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3