Part of Navy Pier flyover connecting north, south Lakefront Trail to open Thursday

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CHICAGO (WLS) -- Big news for runners, bicyclists and pedestrians who use the Lakefront Trail: part of the Navy Pier Flyover will open Thursday.

"Literally the whole distance, you'll never have to go on the road, you'll never have to 'run' into pedestrians," Mayor Emanuel said.

ABC7's John Garcia joined Mayor Emanuel for a run early Wednesday morning along the lakefront path south of downtown, where the separated bike and running paths are now open.

It makes for smoother and less congested movement along the lakefront path, which draws up to 100,000 users on nice summer days. But to get between the north and south portions of the nearly 20-mile long path, you had to get through the often dangerous intersections under Lake Shore Drive at Illinois and Grand.

"Cars fly by and they make this right turn here and no one looks," runner Brian Klesath said.

Megan Williams suffered a fractured skull several years ago when a cyclist hit her at the intersection.

"I was turning around. I looked left, I looked right, and before I knew it, everything went black," Williams said.

Mayor Emanuel says he bikes and runs the trail regularly himself. And he hopes the separate bike and running trails as well as the flyover on the path will make collisions a thing of the past.

Not just for the quality of life, but there's going to be hopefully a dramatic reduction in accidents.

There is still a section of the flyover - an on-ramp to the southern portion - that remains under construction. It is expected to be completed early next year.
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