Station Closures Ahead: CTA Red Line Modernization Moves Forward

(Sarah A. / Flickr)(Sarah A. / Flickr)

The CTA’s ambitious Red and Purple Line modernization program will impact service for riders on the North Side for a four-week period starting Friday, the transit agency said. And approval for another piece of that train system overhaul — relocating a historic Lakeview building — took a step forward this week.

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Planned disruptions at the Granville, Thorndale and Bryn Mawr stations are as follows:

— 10 p.m. Friday, July 17 until 1 a.m. Sunday, July 19: The stations will be closed. A free shuttle bus will be available between the Loyola and Berwyn stops on either side of the affected stations, the CTA says. 

— 1 a.m. Sunday, July 19 until 10 p.m. Friday, July 31: Northbound Red Line trains will not stop at these three stations. The #84 bus that runs along Peterson with a stop at the Bryn Mawr station is set to be rerouted to the Berwyn station just to the south, which will not be affected. 

— 10 p.m. Friday, July 31 until 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2: The stations will be closed.

— 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 until 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15: Southbound Red Line trains will not stop at these three stations. The #84 bus that runs along Peterson with a stop at the Bryn Mawr station is set to be rerouted to the Berwyn station just to the south, which will not be affected.

— 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 until 3 a.m. Monday, Aug 15: The stations will be closed.

More information on these and future closures and changes can be found here.

The skipped stops and shutdowns will allow crews to work on a track interlocking near Thorndale, which lets trains switch from one track to another. A similar interlocking was just completed near Montrose, the CTA said.

“We are going to have to move trains and which track they travel on when we’re rebuilding the full Red and Purple Line starting next year. Right now, we have four tracks … two northbound and two southbound directions,” said CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase. “We have to take four lanes, or four tracks, of trains and put them onto two while we rebuild the other two. A lot of prep work has to go into that.”

Many of the tracks used by the Red and Purple lines are a century old, which slows down trains significantly. Despite a downturn in ridership during the pandemic, the CTA has in recent years seen increasing demand on the Red and Purple lines and projects that to increase further in future years.

In addition to rebuilding and revamping aging tracks and structures, the CTA is also overhauling the aging and little-upgraded Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations that service parts of Uptown and Edgewater. The CTA expects to shut those four stations down late this year, though exact dates have not yet been announced. Crews will construct temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr ahead of the closures.

  • A temporary CTA station at Argyle is under construction on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

    A temporary CTA station at Argyle is under construction on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

  • A temporary CTA station at Argyle is under construction on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

    A temporary CTA station at Argyle is under construction on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

  • Construction on a temporary CTA station at Bryn Mawr on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

    Construction on a temporary CTA station at Bryn Mawr on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

  • Construction on a temporary CTA station at Bryn Mawr on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

    Construction on a temporary CTA station at Bryn Mawr on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Nick Blumberg / WTTW News)

“That work is just now starting,” Chase said. “Later this year, we will be revealing to the public for the first time the designs for the new permanent stations, so people can get a sneak peek of what those will look like when we’re done with construction in 2024.”

Another key piece of the Red and Purple modernization is in the Lakeview area, where crews are building a “flyover” to alleviate a bottleneck near Clark and Roscoe where Red, Purple, and Brown line tracks come together and create delays that can have a ripple effect throughout the “L” system. In order to straighten out a slightly curved section of track in the same area, which can also create slowdowns, the CTA purchased and demolished several buildings along Clark Street. But one historic property was spared a teardown and will instead be moved about 30 feet to the west.

The Vautravers Building (Credit: Google Street View)The Vautravers Building (Credit: Google Street View)

The Vautravers Building at 947-949 W. Newport Ave. is a century-old, three-story limestone building with ornate copper details that’s part of the Newport Avenue Landmark District recognized by the city. On Thursday, staff from the city’s Department of Planning and Development recommended that the Chicago Landmarks Commission approve the CTA’s plan to relocate the building.

“The big question for us in the last several years is, could we move that building safely? We obviously don’t want to compromise the integrity of it,” Chase said. “When we hired our contractor for the project … they looked at it and made sure that yes, it actually can be moved in one piece.”

Chase said the contractor, Walsh-Fluor, is working on plans for the relocation now. The building is set to be moved in 2021, though there’s no exact date yet.

An overview shows the section of CTA track that will be straightened out, circled in black, with the location of the Vautravers Building, circled in red. (Credit: Google Maps)An overview shows the section of CTA track that will be straightened out, circled in black, with the location of the Vautravers Building, circled in red. (Credit: Google Maps)

“It’s very good news for people in the neighborhood and people who are eager about preserving the historic status of that building and structure,” Chase said.

The Red and Purple Line modernization project is scheduled to run through 2024. There’s more information available from the CTA here.

Note: This story was originally published on Saturday, July 11. It has been updated.

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