LAKEVIEW — A flyover bypass that will let Brown Line trains more efficiently skirt the Red and Purple line tracks in Lakeview is taking shape.
Builders installed the first pieces of steel that will support the Brown Line’s bridge over Red and Purple line tracks just north of the Belmont station, the CTA said Wednesday.
The construction of the steel framework will continue for several months. When finished, the Red-Purple bypass will eliminate a bottleneck at one of the CTA’s busiest and most congested stations.
Currently, northbound Brown Line trains intersect with the four tracks used by northbound and southbound Red and Purple line trains. But the bypass would give the Brown Line its own dedicated rail line above the other tracks, reducing delays.
By eliminating this congestion, the CTA would be able to add eight Red Line trains with 7,200 customers per hour during rush periods, according to the agency. It would also increase Red and Purple line train speeds at the intersection by 60 percent.
The Red-Purple Bypass is expected to be completed by June, but it’s only part of the CTA’s larger $2 billion Red and Purple Modernization project, a four-year renovation of nearly 10 miles of train tracks on the North Side.
The first phase of the Red and Purple Modernization project includes the Red-Purple Bypass and a complete rebuilding of the CTA tracks and stations from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr in Uptown and Edgewater.
The entire Red and Purple Modernization project won’t be complete until the end of 2024, causing nearby business owners to worry about the “heavy” impact of years of rail construction. An Edgewater jewelry shop has already left its storefront near the Bryn Mawr station for a location in Andersonville.
To support these businesses, which are also facing the devastating coronavirus pandemic, the CTA launched a marketing campaign in October aiming to drive foot and digital traffic to their stores.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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