The CTA launched the second phase of a major $71.2 million Brown and Purple Line renovation project Aug. 13 with a $40.3 million contract award to Kiewit Infrastructure Co., which will upgrade tracks along the Brown and Purple Line between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart to eliminate slow zones and create a smoother, more reliable ride for customers.
Kiewit crews will begin work this spring to improve tracks along the Ravenswood Connector, which carries about 700 Brown and Purple Line trains each weekday. The trackwork begins as CTA ironworkers have been making repairs and upgrades on the elevated structure of the Connector for nearly a year, work that will continue. Specifically, CTA crews have been renewing key elements on the more than 100-year-old structure by replacing flange angles, which are critical brackets that strengthen the elevated structure and support the tracks. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, and the result of the two-year effort will be improved speed and reliability for Brown and Purple Line trains.
Details on the construction schedule and how service will be affected are still being finalized, and will be announced closer to the start of the work. Temporary weekend track closures, similar to those seen recently on the Blue Line O’Hare branch as part of the Your New Blue rehabilitation project, are expected to be part of the construction plan. As with all large-scale projects, the CTA will strive to minimize impacts to service.
In the interim, CTA in-house forces have also made some track repairs since last fall. Currently, track crews are working on rail tie replacement for immediate train-speed improvements south of Armitage. That work entails temporary slow zones on some sections of track that will lengthen normal travel times.
Separately, and as part of system-wide slow zone remediation work the CTA has under way, the CTA will perform track improvements August 16-18 on the Brown Line tracks between the Rockwell and Francisco stations along the bridge over the Chicago River’s north branch. Because of that work, the CTA will temporarily suspend train service between Western and Kimball beginning Saturday, August 16 at 2:40 a.m. Service will be resumed in time for the morning rush period on Monday, August 18, at 4 a.m. The CTA will provide bus shuttle service that will make stops at the Western and Kimball stations, and the #81 Lawrence bus stops on Lawrence at Rockwell, Sacramento, and Kedzie. Train service between Western and the Loop will be unaffected.