EDGEWATER — Work to rebuild the Red Line on the Far North Side will begin next month, when crews will start tearing down the existing train tracks and four “L” stations in Uptown and Edgewater.
The CTA is launching the first of two construction phases of the $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization Project on May 16, which will result in completely rebuilt Red and Purple line tracks and modern, fully accessible stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr.
But before the improvements can be made, the century-old rail lines and stations must be removed.
Crews will begin the demolition work on the project’s northern end at Ardmore Avenue and work south, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. The construction zone spans from Ardmore Avenue to Leland Avenue.
The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations will close May 16. Temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr will open that day, according to the CTA.
Crews will also demolish the northbound Red and Purple line tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. That will include the demolition of 1.5 miles of embankment wall and 11 bridges that span east-west streets in Uptown and Edgewater.
To aid in the work, CTA’s contractor will install access ramps along the work site to allow the transfer of equipment and materials from street to track level.
The train tracks and infrastructure must be built before the stations can be replaced. The tracks and rail bridges will be assembled via an overhead crane system that will install concrete bridge segments that were manufactured off-site, according to the CTA. Using prefabricated materials cuts down on the construction work done on the site.
Red and Purple line trains will run continuously through the work. While the easternmost (northbound) tracks are demolished and reconstructed, trains will operate on the two westernmost (southbound) tracks. The Argyle and Bryn Mawr temporary stations will stay open for the duration of the work, according to the CTA.
Demolition and the rebuilding of the eastern portion of the tracks is scheduled to wrap up in late 2022, according to the CTA.
From there, work on the western portion of the tracks will commence. This second stage of work will include the construction of the four new stations, which are slated to be opened in 2024.
Crews for the CTA are also making progress on the Red-Purple bypass in Lakeview, which will give the Brown Line a dedicated flyover track to alleviate rail congestion.
The work will cause disruptions for businesses and residents near the Red Line, with numerous streets and alleys likely to have restricted access for prolonged periods. To help ease the pain to the local business community, the CTA rolled out a program to get neighbors to support impacted businesses.
The CTA will host station-specific community meetings to brief neighbors on how construction will progress, Chase said.
CTA officials unveiled the designs for the four Red Line stations in January. New stations will be larger than the existing ones with wider platforms, more lighting and better sight lines, and they will include elevators and escalators.
“Finally, we will start the work that’s needed to bring customers brand-new, modern stations,” Chase said. “It’s very exciting.”
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