The Chicago Transit Authority previewed upcoming track renewal work that will affect primarily weekend service in the Loop beginning in mid-April through late-2012. The project will involve special trackwork at the Loop junctions and the replacement of nearly 11,500 feet of elevated rail and track components that were installed in the mid-1980s, which are nearing the end of their useful life.
Portions of the Loop elevated system that will undergo renewal work includes the track and structure along Wells and Van Buren streets; a small portion of elevated track along Wabash between Adams and Van Buren; the Hubbard Curve, which is located just north of the Merchandise Mart station; and the Tower 18 and Tower 12 junctions, which are located at Lake/Wells and Wabash/Van Buren respectively.
To lessen the impact on customers and service, construction work will be primarily limited to weekends.
In 2008, CTA began work on replacing the signaling system and the first half of track renewal within the Loop. During this portion of the project, crews replaced approximately 10,000 feet of track and deteriorated ties along the Lake and Wabash stretches of elevated track, resulting in the removal of nearly 600 feet of slow zones in the Loop and helping prevent the appearance of future slow zones.
Ragnar Benson Construction, LLC, was awarded the contract through a competitive bid process. Funding for the Loop Track Renewal project is provided by a state grant through the Regional Transportation Authority.