During the NATO summit, the U.S. Coast Guard plans to periodically shut down boat travel on the Chicago River downtown, including the lock accessing Lake Michigan, as well as a large area of the shoreline and water near McCormick Place.
The lockdowns would be imposed when security concerns warrant it, such as when motorcades are passing over bridges, according to Coast Guard Lt. Junior Grade Brian Dykens.
They would be occur only during the May 20-21 meetings of U.S. leaders and their counterparts from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to Dykens.
The security “is necessary to mitigate the threat of violence and ensure the safety and security of those who attend, participate, and visit the (NATO) summit and any associated events,” the agency said in a notice of the proposed restrictions filed in Washington D.C. this week.
The U.S. Secret Service had already announced it would close Burnham Harbor for the summit, which will be held at the nearby McCormick Place convention center.
The Coast Guard proposal would go well beyond that, including temporarily prohibiting traffic from passing between the river and the lake.
The restrictions would affect leisure boaters as well as firms that operate sightseeing and public transportation boats on the water.
One of the restricted zones would be a 2,000-yard radius with its center point at the Burnham Harbor hoist ramp.
Another would be a similarly drawn area centered on the “outermost tip” of the Chicago lock.
Two others would affect the north and south branches of the river roughly between the Loomis Street Bridge in Bridgeport and just south of the Chicago Avenue Bridge.