Government officials question how Lake Michigan affects Lake Shore Drive

February 8, 2011

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(Getty File/Scott Olson)

There is a new focus on the safety of Lake Shore Drive and how Lake Michigan affects it after last week's blizzard. Hundreds of drivers got stuck in the snow there and eventually had to abandon their vehicles.

Illinois U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are calling on federal agencies to look at the safety of Lake Shore Drive given its location next to Lake Michigan. Things like: How do waves affect it? Is it more susceptible to flooding?

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said last week the winds are a major concern.

"We need barriers out in the lake to prevent the Northwest winds coming in," he said.

Joel Brammeier, the head of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said the government has been working for decades on building barriers along the lakefront to cut down on flooding, but more needs to be done.

"Instead of just building concrete walls, we can be thinking about how to regenerate the Lake Michigan shoreline so it gives something back to the Great Lakes," Brammeier said.

He said he's concerned about decreasing water levels in the lake.