CTA Will Start Construction of New Red-Purple Bypass North of Belmont Station to Improve CTA Rail Service; New Rail Structure Will Improve Pedestrian Environment
CTA will Host Informational Open Houses on July 31 & August 1 to Provide Community Members With Construction Details and Impacts and Mitigation Plans
CHICAGO (July 31, 2019) – The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced today that construction for the Red-Purple Bypass is set to begin this fall. The bypass is a major component of Phase One of CTA’s Red Purple Modernization (RPM) program, which will also rebuild the century-old rail structure between the Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations. Work performed as part of RPM Phase One will make commuting better for all CTA riders with improved service and modern, fully accessible stations.
This fall, CTA will begin constructing new track foundations in the Lakeview community for a new rail bypass bridge that will allow Kimball-bound (northbound) Brown Line trains to cross over north- and southbound Red and Purple Line tracks just north of Belmont station. 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. The bypass replaces a rail junction that was built in 1907 and that carries about 150,000 rides each weekday.
CTA is finalizing construction start dates with the project’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor Design Build Team, and will continue to provide advance notification of construction impacts to riders and those in the surrounding community.
“The Red and Purple Modernization Project is an important investment in the future of Chicago transit that will benefit CTA customers across our rail system, as well as surrounding communities and their long-term livelihood,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “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 two Construction Kickoff open houses this week. These open houses will offer community members the opportunity to provide input on the new renderings, such as ideas for various infrastructure elements, including pavers, fencing and landscaping.
Details for the open houses are as follows:
Wednesday, July 31 Thursday, August 1
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Center on Halsted, Second Floor Center on Halsted, Second Floor
3656 N. Halsted, Chicago 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago
The open house format allows for attendees to come and go at their convenience and have one-on-one conversations with CTA and project contractor staff about the project construction, impacts and mitigation plans. Staff will also be on-site to address other community concerns including parking disruptions, in which CTA is providing free alternative parking in lighted, fenced CTA-owned lots; alley, street and sidewalk closures, in which CTA will be announcing specific details on locations and notice plans; and construction equipment, in which CTA will be sharing what the community can expect to see and hear.
Red-Purple Bypass benefits
- Smoother, more reliable service by easing chronic overcrowding on trains and rail platforms, as well as delays that are caused and felt throughout the CTA system due to the inability to add train service during the busiest ridership periods.
- Replacement of century-old structures with new, modern “closed-deck” track structure that helps reduce street-level noise.
- Creates a brighter, cleaner, safer and more pleasant pedestrian environment that will complement the comprehensive Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan that CTA prepared with the local community for parcels of land available for development when construction is completed.
- Continued operation of Red Line service while making these important improvements to the CTA rail system.
Since RPM Phase One was announced in 2014, public meetings have been held to gather community input regarding the project. As a result, CTA has implemented community-based solutions in preparation of construction, including the installation of flower boxes, butterfly sculptures and landscaping on Wilton Avenue and School Street along the fence bordering the CTA-owned lot. CTA has also helped promote construction-affected businesses during utility work with Open for Business banners, social media posts and encouraging project workers to eat and shop locally.
Red-Purple Bypass Renderings; Public Input on Future Streetscape
The Red-Purple Bypass design meets CTA heavy rail structural needs and takes into account community concerns about what the structure will look like. CTA is sharing with the public what the structure will look like, including from the pedestrian level, which will be much improved with lighting, paved surfaces and streetscaping, which builds upon a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan developed by CTA for the Red-Purple Bypass project area. The proposed TOD plan is based on public feedback on how construction parcels could be redeveloped after the completion of RPM construction in 2025.
As part of the Red-Purple Bypass construction effort, CTA will seek the public’s opinion on various infrastructure elements such as pavers, fencing, landscaping and street furniture.
Future: Red-Purple Bypass
Clark Street, facing north toward Roscoe
(Note: Rendering includes proposed Transit Oriented Development on developable parcel west of Clark Street)
Future: Red-Purple Bypass
School Street at Wilton, facing west
Future: Red-Purple Bypass
Newport Street, facing east
Background on RPM Phase One
The $2.1 billion RPM Phase One project is the first part of CTA’s plan to rebuild the Red and Purple lines from just north of Belmont to Linden, and is the largest capital investment project in CTA history. RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:
- New Red-Purple Bypass construction (expected completion by the end of 2021), followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion by the end of 2024).
- Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent vertically accessible stations and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is nearly a century old. Major track and station reconstruction will begin in late 2020/early 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
- Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability.
For more information on the RPM project, visit transitchicago.com/rpm.