The Chicago Transit Authority today 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 track work 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 general, customers can expect trains to undergo reroutes in the Loop on Friday nights (e.g. trains operating only on the inner loop track or outer loop tracks), then on Saturdays and Sundays work will require full closure of portions of track in the Loop. Due to the nature of the work, temporary weekend street closures will be required.
Customers and those in the surrounding communities will be notified at least one-week prior to any work that will result in significant impacts to CTA service or street access. Additional project and service details will be made available in the next few weeks, with updates provided each week once work commences. This information will be available to customers via posters and fliers at the affected rail stations and via the CTA website (transitchicago.com), Twitter, Facebook or CTA subscription text/email alerts.
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 RTA.
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