Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will perform trackwork on the Wells Street Bridge this spring, ceasing train service on the bridge for two nine-day periods in March and April.
While Chicago Department of Transporation closes the 90-year-old Wells Street Bridge for an extensive reconstruction, rebuilding one leaf of the bascule bridge during each nine-day segment, CTA will perform needed replacement of tracks on and near the bridge. Coordinating the work will minimize the impact and reduce overall construction costs, officials said.
In addition to work on the bridge itself, CTA will rebuild the tracks above the intersection of Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18 and replace tracks in the curves at Hubbard and Kinzie, just north of the Merchandise Mart. Tower 18 is the CTA’s busiest junction, with five of eight rail lines passing through every weekday. This junction handles nearly 700 trains a day and nearly 500 on the average weekend.
Upgrades to Tower 18 and additional trackwork will increase safety and reliability for customers and is part of the CTA’s $33.8-million Loop Track Renewal project launched in March 2012. Combining the work will save CDOT and CTA $500,000 in construction coordination costs.
“CDOT and CTA have been working closely together to coordinate the two projects to minimize the impact on CTA customers and reduce the overall project cost,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “However, we encourage our customers to plan ahead, allow extra commuting time and in some instances, temporarily consider alternative service.”