RAVENSWOOD — Metra’s renovation of the train tracks along Ravenswood Avenue between Grace Street and Balmoral Avenue will enter its final stage in October, according to agency officials.
The $30 million project to renovate 11 bridges along Metra’s UP-N line was first announced in 2010.
The project also will reconstruct the eastern side of the Ravenswood station to include longer, covered platforms, warming shelters, new lighting, space for a ticket office, vendor space, stairs and American with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps.
Depending on weather crews could begin the final phase of the eastern half of the station by either late winter or early spring of next year. Construction of the western side of the Ravenswood station was completed in 2015.
Collin Quinn, a project manager with Judlau Contracting, said at a community meeting Tuesday the entire project is about 80 to 85 percent complete.
The new bridges are already built. Crews are now building new railroad tracks for UP-N line trains to start using on the new bridges, he said, which should be finished around mid-October.
“Once train traffic has actually switched on to the newly built bridges then the old bridges — that are 100 years old that are currently in service — can be demolished and removed,” Quinn said.
Crews will demolish the older bridges by the end of the year, Quinn said, then install some handrails and new concrete sometime in the Spring.
“Anything hanging loose we will clean up and we’ll be done with the new fences before Thanksgiving,” Quinn said.
Neighbors said they were concerned about street closures and parking during the construction, and if trees removed as part of the project would be replaced.
But neighbors would be given notice of road closures via the ward’s social media pages and newsletter at least two weeks ahead of time, according to Josh Mark, Ald. Matt Martin’s (47th) director of development.
As for the trees, Quinn said crews were doing their best to work around the existing trees but would not be planting any new ones as part of the project.
Joe Ott, director of construction for Metra engineering, said another round of bridge replacements is planned for the UP-N line south of Grace Street once the current project is completed.
He also reassured residents anxious for the work to finally wrap up that the project is sufficiently funded to finish after several delays.
“We’re all funded. Anything can happen but we’re still funding and this project is going to finish and it’s going to be great,” Ott said.
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