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Wells Street Bridge Replacement

Wells Street Bridge Reconstruction

Note: This is an archived page from 2013. Work detailed on this page has already occurred.

Leave early or late. Use alternatives.

As part of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) ongoing reconstruction of the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River, CTA will temporarily cease train service on the bridge for two 9-day periods in early March and late April.

To assist our customers, we've developed a comprehensive alternative service plan incorporating additional bus service, shuttle buses, some rerouted trains, and a Loop shuttle train to alleviate some of the temporary inconveniences for both weekday and weekend riders.

While CDOT closes the 90-year-old Wells Street Bridge for an extensive reconstruction—rebuilding one leaf of the bascule bridge during each 9-day segment—we'll perform needed replacement of tracks on and near the bridge. Coordinating the work will minimize the impact on transit riders and reduce overall construction costs.

In addition to work on the bridge itself, we'll rebuild the ‘L’ structure track junction at Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18, and replace tracks in the curves at Hubbard and Kinzie, just north of the Merchandise Mart, avoiding additional street closures and service disruptions for customers. Tower 18 is the busiest junction on the CTA 'L' system and the main elevated line entryway into the Loop from the north, with 5 of 8 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 track work will increase safety and reliability for customers and is part of our $33.8 million Loop Track Renewal project launched in March 2012. By performing the work while CDOT completes the Wells bridge repairs, CTA will reduce the duration of the work by eight days. Additionally, combining the work will save CDOT and CTA $500,000 in construction coordination costs.

 

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How will this affect my trip?

This work is expected to have a major impact on travel on both weekdays and weekends. Several 'L' lines will have changes to how they operate at different times. The impact will be felt the most on weekdays, due to capacity limitations and service changes affecting tens of thousands of riders who use trains that travel over the Wells Street Bridge during rush hours.

The Wells Street Bridge will be closed to CTA train traffic during the following:

  • The evening of Friday, March 1 thru Sunday March 10 (with service resuming early on Monday, March 11)
  • The evening of Friday, April 26 thru Sunday, May 5 (with service resuming early on Monday, May 6)

For specific service details, see the sections below.

Riders whose routes are affected by either weekday or weekend work should consider alternatives and/or allow for extra travel time, especially during weekday rush periods or where using shuttle buses will be necessary.

Flyers

Informational flyers will be distributed to riders at stations along the Red, Purple and Brown Lines where weekday service will be affected, to help you better understand how service changes will affect you. Different versions are specially tailored for service at each part of the line or specific stations.

 

Weekday Service During Wells Street Bridge Closures and Loop Track Renewal Work

Weekday service summary

On weekdays, during the two, nine-day closures of the Wells Street Bridge (Mar 1-10, Apr 26-May 5), service will be affected throughout the day, including during rush periods. Here is how service will operate at different times of the day:

 

Weekday Morning & Evening Rush Period Service

  • Brown Line service during rush periods will operate with substantially reduced frequency.
  • Some rush hour Brown Line trains will operate between Kimball and Merchandise Mart, only.
  • Some rush hour Brown Line trains will be rerouted into the Red Line subway after Fullerton, making all stops through Roosevelt. The destination signs on these trains will read "Roosevelt" on a red background to differentiate them from trains operating to the Mart.
  • Some rush hour Brown Line trains to Kimball will originate from Roosevelt on the Red Line Subway, making all normal Red Line stops through Fullerton, where they will continue making all Brown Line stops to Kimball.
  • Purple Line Express service will be suspended (Purple Line local service will continue to operate between Linden and Howard).
    • Note: Baseball fans who use the special Purple Line Express inbound service from the North Shore or Howard Station to Sheridan for night games at Wrigley Field should change at Howard for a Red Line train to Sheridan or Addison, instead. 
  • Bus service alternatives will be available to connect Brown Line riders from Fullerton, Armitage, Sedgwick, Chicago and Merchandise Mart, including shuttles and extra regular bus service.
    • A free bus shuttle will operate during all hours of Brown Line service between the Chicago station and the Loop 'L'. The shuttle is free and stops at Chicago (Brown Line), LaSalle/Kinzie (for Merchandise Mart Brown Line), Clark/Lake (Loop 'L', board/exit at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells (Loop 'L', exit at Madison/Wells). (Map)
    • Extra service will be added to the #37 Sedgwick bus to provide alternate service for customers at Fullerton, Sedgwick, and Chicago. (Map)
    • A special variant of the #37 will operate during weekday rush periods only to serve customers at Armitage station. The #37A Sedgwick/Armitage will operate in the peak direction only (southbound in the AM rush, northbound in the PM rush) and run non-stop between the Armitage and Sedgwick Brown Line stations, except for a stop at the North/Clybourn (Red Line). South of Sedgwick station (North Avenue), the #37A will operate on the same routing as the #37, making all local stops. #37A buses will begin/end at Adams Street. (Map)
    • Additional bus service will also operate on the #22 Clark in the AM and PM rush periods, and northbound on the #146 Michigan/Inner Drive Express and #147 Outer Drive Express in the PM rush period only.
  • A Loop Shuttle Train will operate continuously around the Loop 'L', making all stops on the Brown Line side, during all hours where Brown Line service usually operates on the Loop.

 

Weekday Midday & Evening Service

  • Brown Line service will operate at a reduced frequency (10-12 minutes) during midday and evening hours, between Kimball and Merchandise Mart, only.
  • A free bus shuttle will operate during all hours of Brown Line service between the Chicago station and the Loop 'L'. (Map)
  • Additional service will be added to the Red Line.
  • A Loop Shuttle Train will operate continuously around the Loop 'L', making all stops on the Brown Line side, during all hours where Brown Line service usually operates on the Loop.

 

Weekday Late Evening Service (after 8 p.m.)

  • Brown Line trains will operate between Kimball and Chicago, only, after 8 p.m. to allow for track replacement work on the curve over Hubbard St.
  • A free bus shuttle will operate during all hours of Brown Line service between the Chicago station and the Loop 'L'. (Map)
  • A Loop Shuttle Train will operate continuously around the Loop 'L', making all stops on the Brown Line side, during all hours where Brown Line service usually operates on the Loop.

 

Travel tips
  • Avoid the busiest part of weekday rush periods, if possible, by shifting your work day to earlier or later hours.
  • Consider alternative travel options other than Red, Brown and Purple Lines, such as bus routes or even the Blue Line.
  • During rush, you can use Brown Line service to/from shuttle buses for continuing service into downtown via elevated, or use Brown Line service in the Red Line subway for a more direct trip.
  • Remember: Due to unavoidable capacity limitations, both Red and Brown Line trains may become very crowded, especially as they reach/leave downtown, and especially in peak travel directions.
  • For those who wish to change between Brown Line service and other 'L' lines downtown, you should consider doing so at Belmont or Fullerton and using Red Line service to/from the Loop for connections.
  • Red and Brown Line riders who use stations at Fullerton, North/Clybourn, Clark/Division, Chicago, Grand, Armitage or Sedgwick inbound at the height of the A.M. rush or outbound at the height of the P.M. rush should consider using bus service alternatives, as trains may be very crowded at the height of rush periods.

 

Detailed weekday service maps
Weekday Rail ('L') System Map Weekday Rail ('L') Service & Bus Alternatives Map
Weekday Rail ('L') System Map
 
Weekday Rail ('L') Service
& Bus Alternatives Map

updated 2/22/2013
Brown Line Shuttle Map #37 Sedgwick Map #37A Sedwick/Armitage Map  

Brown Line Shuttle Map

#37 Sedgwick Map #37A Sedwick/Armitage Map
updated 2/22/2013
 

 

 

Weekend Service During Wells Street Bridge Closures and Loop Track Renewal Work

Weekend service summary

To streamline construction and minimize customer impact, Loop Track Renewal Work will also occur at the Lake and Wells junction (Tower 18), in addition to closures already in place for Wells Street Bridge Reconstruction. These dates include:

  • March 2-3
  • March 9-10
  • April 27-28
  • May 4-5.

Here is how service will operate on these weekends:

  • Brown Line trains will operate between Kimball and Chicago, only.
  • Orange Line trains will operate on the Wells and Van Buren sides of the Loop ‘L’ only.
    • Trains to the Loop will operate only as far as Washington/Wells, where they will end their trips.
    • Trains to Midway will board on the Brown Line side at Loop stations on Wells or Van Buren, then operate normally to Midway.
  • Green Line trains to/from Ashland/63rd or Cottage Grove will operate between Adams/Wabash and the 63rd Street terminals only.
    • Trains to the Loop will operate only as far as Adams/Wabash, where they will end their trips.
    • Trains to Ashland/63rd or Cottage Grove will board on the Harlem-bound platform at Adams/Wabash, then operate normally to 63rd Street.
    • A shuttle train will operate on the Loop, making all stops between (and including) Clark/Lake and Adams/Wabash, via the Lake and Wabash sides of the Loop. Connections to Loop-63rd Green Line trains can be made at Adams/Wabash.
  • Green Line trains to/from Harlem/Lake will operate between Harlem/Lake and Clinton, only.
  • Pink Line trains will operate between 54th/Cermak and Clinton, only.
  • Free shuttle buses will be available to connect riders between Clinton, Chicago/Franklin, Merchandise Mart, Clark/Lake and Washington/Wells. (Map)

 

Travel tips
  • Orange Line who need to get to/from stations on Wabash or Lake should consider using Red Line service between the Loop and Roosevelt.
  • South Side Green Line riders who need to to get to/from stations on Wells or Van Buren should change at Roosevelt between Green Line trains and Orange Line trains to/from Washington/Wells on the Loop 'L'.
  • To change between Orange Line/South Side Green Line trains and Brown Line trains to get to/from stations at Fullerton through Kimball, should consider using the Red Line between Fullerton and Roosevelt as an intermediate connection.
  • Transfers to/from the Blue Line can be made at a number of stations...
    • at Clark/Lake for shuttle buses that connect with Brown Line service to Kimball, Pink Line service to 54th/Cermak and Green Line service to Harlem/Lake,
    • at Clark/Lake for shuttle trains to Adams/Wabash for continuing Green Line service to Ashland/63rd or Cottage Grove,
    • at Jackson for Red Line trains,
    • at Jackson for Orange Line trains to Washington/Wells or Midway, via the nearby Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren station.

 

Detailed weekend service maps
Weekend Rail Service & Bus Shuttle Map
Weekend Rail Service & Bus Shuttle Map
 
Weekend Loop 'L' Shuttle Map
Weekend Loop 'L' Shuttle Map

 

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System Status

 

Trains:

Red Line Normal Service
Blue Line Normal Service
Brown Line Normal Service
Green Line Planned Work w/Station(s) Bypassed
Orange Line Normal Service
Purple Line Normal Service
Pink Line Normal Service
Yellow Line Normal Service

Buses:

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