EDGEWATER — After months of demolition, crews have begun installing the new base of the rebuilt Red Line tracks in Edgewater using a massive piece of equipment for the job.
The CTA’s contractor has started using a gantry crane to begin placing large, prefabricated concrete blocks that will form the base of the new Red and Purple line infrastructure on the Far North Side.
Crews this month began using the vertical crane — nearly the length of a football field minus the end zones — to install the platform segments of the new tracks at Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater, CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase confirmed.
As of Nov. 20, 10 pieces of prefabricated concrete segments were installed near Ardmore.
The work signals the shift to rebuilding the Red and Purple line tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr as part of the $2 billion Red-Purple Modernization Project. The project kicked off in earnest this year with contractor Walsh-Fluor demolishing station houses, track bases and track viaducts.
Earlier this month, the CTA debuted the Brown Line flyover at Belmont, one of the key components of its modernization project.
Construction of the new track infrastructure began in mid-November.
The gantry will install 1,555 pieces of prefabricated concrete track base between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, the portion of the Red and Purple line tracks and stations being rebuilt.
Each concrete base piece is 27 feet wide by 9 feet tall, and 8 to 11 feet long. The pieces are being trucked into the site from a production plant in downstate Morris, and staged near Ardmore, Chase said.
Balmoral and Ainslie avenues will also be used as crane and concrete block staging areas as work moves south. That will require Balmoral to be closed March to August 2022, and Ainslie in September and October 2022.
The gantry will be used for the rebuild through 2024, Chase said. It is working to install new pieces of the eastern (or northbound) tracks, with work on that portion of the project slated to wrap up next year.
The gantry will then be reassembled to build the westernmost tracks. Work on the entire project is slated to end in 2024.
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