UPTOWN — Work to remove lead paint from the Red Line tracks in Uptown was temporarily suspended this week as neighbors complained of dust emanating from the work site.
CTA crews stopped work Monday and Tuesday in the 4300 block of North Kenmore Avenue, where they are removing lead paint from the base of the “L” track infrastructure as part of the Red-Purple modernization project, a spokesperson for the transit agency said.
Dust escaped from the enclosed work site at least twice, CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase said. There were “minor gaps” in the tarps covering the work area to avoid lead contamination, she said.
Work was stopped to fix those the gaps. Lead exposure samples taken from the work site “have been well below EPA allowable thresholds for exposure,” Chase said.
Residents of the block of Kenmore Avenue just south of Montrose Avenue said they began seeing “clouds of dust” from the area this week. Despite the work stoppages, neighbors said dust is still a problem.
“The tracks and everything below are covered in this dust, including our car,” resident Sydney Grant said. “I am concerned because I can see huge clouds of dust being released from the tented-off construction area.”
Daily samples from the work site will be tested and results shared with neighbors, the CTA said. Work resumed Wednesday.
“We have no preliminary indication of any air quality issues from the daily monitoring our contractor has been performing while we do the abatement,” Chase said in a statement. “We take the safety and health of all residents very seriously. We are closely monitoring this work and will continue to follow all of the proper procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.”
The dust clouds are just one of the issues neighbors have faced as part of the $2.1-billion rebuilding of the Red Line tracks in Uptown and Edgewater. Demolition work has been underway in the area for months as crews ready the area for construction of the new rail infrastructure.
The massive project will cause disruptions in the area, and CTA has tried to minimize headaches, including starting a marketing campaign for businesses near the construction. The CTA also opened an office for neighbors to learn more and seek help with the project and its impacts.
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