10/31/2011 04:42 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2011

Lake Shore Drive Construction On New Emergency Turnarounds Begins (VIDEO)

With winter fast approaching, construction began Monday on new turnarounds offering an escape route for drivers on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.

The project will create two new turnarounds from the drive on the near North Side at Armitage and Schiller, locations chosen because of the area's propensity toward high snow drifts, WBEZ reports.

The new median openings, according to the Chicago Tribune, will be made via movable concrete barriers cleared for use only during emergencies. When extreme weather or another sort of emergency occurs, the barriers will be opened up.

The project will close the inside, far left lanes in both directions between Armitage and Goethe Streets through its expected completion in late November.

The new turnarounds were planned at least in part in response to the February blizzard which left many motorists stranded on Lake Shore Drive for several hours and shut down the lakeside highway for nearly a day and a half, a scenario which the city does not wish to relive during this upcoming winter, which is expected to feature snowfall and temperatures rivaling last year's record-shattering conditions.

The city says it is well-prepared for a similarly inclement winter this time around, NBC Chicago reported last week.