CRE N Illinois

Massive CTA infrastructure project planned on Chicago's North Side

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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will start construction for the Red-Purple Bypass this fall. A joint venture of Walsh Construction and Irving, Texas-based Fluor Corporation are tasked with designing and building the bypass, which is a major component of CTA’s Red Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project to improve service and accessibility on the century-old rail system.

Construction will start with new track foundations in the Lakeview community for a new rail bypass bridge that will replace an existing rail junction built in 1907 just north of the Belmont station. The new structure will be a bypass that will carry Kimball-bound CTA Brown Line trains over north and southbound Red and Purple Line tracks just north of Belmont station. Red Line service will continue throughout the entire project.

The bypass will improve service reliability on the Red, Purple and Brown lines, increasing train speeds, easing overcrowding on rail cars and providing CTA the ability to increase the number of trains it can run during the busiest travel periods for the nearly 150,000 rides it currently carries. Additionally, the project improves the local community by creating a brighter, cleaner, safer and more pleasant pedestrian environment and will complement the comprehensive Transit Oriented Development Plan that CTA prepared in 2018 with the local community for parcels of land that will be available for development when construction is completed.

“The Red and Purple Modernization Project will benefit CTA customers across our rail system and is an important investment in the future of Chicago transit,” said CTA president Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The Red-Purple Bypass is a critical component to making our service more reliable and comfortable for commuters that will have benefits for all CTA riders. An investment in transit is also, however, an investment in local communities and their long-term livelihood. Supporting the community during the construction process is as important as the end result, which is why we will continue to work closely with local residents, businesses and elected officials to inform and listen.”

To gain community insights, as well as to increase overall awareness of the project, CTA has been conducting sidewalk “pop-ups” in the neighborhood, and is hosting open houses that will offer community members the opportunity to provide input on the new renderings, including what the structure will look like, including from the pedestrian level, which will be much improved with lighting, paved surfaces and streetscaping. Additionally, CTA is seeking the public’s input on various streetscape elements including pavers, fencing and landscaping.