CTA Announces the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project’s Track Construction Equipment Has a New Name: “Windy City Gantry”

April 28, 2022

Goudy Elementary second-grade class chose winning name as part of school contest to name the overhead gantry system that is building new Red & Purple Line track structures

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, the contractor for CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project, today announced the overhead gantry system building new Red and Purple Line track structures will be named the Windy City Gantry, a name selected by a second-grade class at Goudy Elementary in Uptown.

The CTA and Walsh-Fluor held a contest for elementary school students to suggest a name for the gantry as part of a contest and educational opportunity for young students to learn more about construction and the RPM project happening next to their school. The name will be added to the gantry while work is performed through 2025.

The gantry is a massive piece of construction equipment that Walsh-Fluor is using to assemble concrete bridge segments for the new Red and Purple Line tracks between Ardmore Avenue and Leland Avenue. The gantry, at 285 feet long, is about the size of a 747 aircraft and is a feat of engineering that allows RPM to build the new Red and Purple Line track structures more quickly and with fewer impacts on the community during construction.

“We have enjoyed bringing this project into classrooms and we thank Goudy students for selecting ‘Windy City Gantry’,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The RPM project is focused improving transit, and it’s also about improving and including the community in this transformational project, which includes our youngest riders.”

RPM Gantry Contest image

“We are so excited that our students were able to participate in the Name the Gantry Contest,” said Goudy Principal Pamela Brandt. “This project has been timely as many of our students are already learning some fascinating aspects of construction and engineering. The opportunity to learn about the Gantry enhanced their learning experience with real-world applications that they will see unfold outside their classroom window.”

“Students in our community were given a unique opportunity to engage with the CTA project that’s happening in their backyard,” said Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward. “Naming the RPM gantry provides them with a real-life opportunity to connect with what’s happening in their community.”

Five classrooms of second, third, and fourth graders from Goudy Public School met with CTA and Walsh-Fluor to learn how the CTA was rebuilding the 100-year-old Red and Purple line structure, as well as information about the gantry and why it was in their neighborhood.

Second, third and fourth-grade classes were invited to submit a name for the gantry-naming contest, and participated in a virtual classroom lesson with Walsh-Fluor and CTA professionals about the project. The students had already been studying about bridge construction, led by Patricia Whitehouse, a K-5 Engineering instructor at Goudy.

Each class submitted an entry and a short description of the name they chose. Goudy Room 202 second graders explained their choice:


“We chose this name because Windy City is a nickname for Chicago. The other names we thought of didn’t have as much to do with Chicago as the Windy City. Chicago is kind of windy--it’s windy almost every day. We think people all over Chicago will understand the name when it’s put on the Gantry. AND this is the best name we ever heard of!”


The winning name will be displayed on the gantry for the duration of the bridge segment installation work, which is expected to be completed in 2025.

Gantry system facts

  • The gantry system used in the Red and Purple Modernization project marks the first time this type of construction approach is being used in the City of Chicago.

  • The gantry is being used to erect the concrete bridge structure for the new Red and Purple Line tracks from Leland Avenue (south of Lawrence station) to Ardmore Ave (north of Bryn Mawr station).

  • The gantry system will lift and assemble precast concrete segments of the bridge structure that will support the new track. The system will install the precast segments for each span, and then launch itself down the bridge structure to continue to erect more bridge spans.

  • The gantry is expected to be in operation for three years, which began September 2021.

Benefits of gantry system

This approach to building the new track structure was selected by Walsh-Fluor because it minimizes construction impacts to the surrounding communities and CTA customers. This “top-down” erection method reduces the use of traditional cranes that require street closures and slowed transit service.

CTA and Walsh-Fluor also chose the use of precast concrete segments because this approach significantly reduces construction impacts to the community by performing much of the major construction for the new bridge structure at a remote site.

Link to gantry images

RPM Phase One overview

RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is a century old.

  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction, completed in November 2021; followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion 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.

The Red Line and RPM

The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in U.S. The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded. Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at transitchicago.com/RPMalerts.

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