New phase of NASCAR street closures begins in Chicago

Tight turns and fast straightaways are right around the corner with the return of NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race.

Race Weekend is planned for Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 in Grant Park, but traffic is already picking up.

Between 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, and 2 a.m. Thursday, June 20, the northbound lanes of Michigan Avenue will be temporarily shut down between Congress Plaza Drive and Jackson Drive.

During that time, crews are scheduled to install a pedestrian walkway and erect additional viewing structures.

It marks the second set of closures to impact the Grant Park area in preparation for the two-day event.

Last week, Ida B. Wells Drive was shut down between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive, where the main viewing areas are going up.

From here on out, closures will only ramp up – with the biggest impact to be felt starting on Thursday, June 27. That's when full closures will be getting underway, including on Jackson Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive starting at 7 p.m. that evening.

On Wednesday evening, Chicagoans weighed in:

"I’m on the train and I ride the bike, it’s not really bothering me, but I do understand people that gotta come from the South Side all the way up north, it does irritate folks. This area, traffic-wise, is terrible in the morning," said William Ryals.

"It is a little bit difficult to get around and to navigate our routes and stuff like that with the street closures, so that can get a little frustrating, but other than that, it’s not that big of a deal for me," said Jack Joseph. "I think any opportunity to get people into our city is awesome, and it’s cool just to be a part of it."

"I think it’s awesome, it’s great, it brings a lot more people here and it adds to the events we already have going on in the summertime," said Floyd Spencer. "It kind of reminds you of a video game. There’s so many different streets that could take you the way you want to go out here, so no, it don’t bother me."

Setup will continue up until Day 1 of Race Weekend.

This year's build, however, won't take as long as it did last summer. Crews are cutting down setup and takedown time from 25 days to 19 days.

For a full list of NASCAR Street Race closures, CLICK HERE.

Additional information can be found HERE.