CTA makes temporary service changes to accommodate Wells Bridge shutdown; customers encouraged to allow extra travel time
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reminds customers that beginning on this Friday, April 26, train service to the Loop will be temporarily disrupted as the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) continues the reconstruction of the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River. This will be last of the two scheduled 9-day temporary closures of the 90-year old bridge.
Elevated rail service in and around the Loop will be affected beginning 10 p.m. on Friday and will continue until the early morning hours on Monday, May 6, when all trains are expected to resume normal operations in time for the morning rush period.
During this temporary bridge closure, CTA train service will be significantly impacted, including a temporary suspension of Purple Line Express service and reduced capacity on the Red and Brown lines during the peak of the rush period, which will result in longer commute times and more crowded trains for those who normally travel during weekday rush periods. CTA strongly encourages its customers to plan ahead for longer commutes by leaving earlier, changing travel patterns or considering alternative service.
CTA will once again provide comprehensive alternative service that includes added bus service, free shuttle buses, some rerouted trains and a Loop shuttle train to alleviate some of the temporary inconveniences for weekday and weekend riders. While this plan remains largely the same as what was provided in early March, the CTA has made a few service enhancements based on customer feedback and service analysis, including:
- Weekdays: During the AM rush period only – all southbound Red Line and Brown Line trains operating to Roosevelt via the subway will serve the Red Line (inner) side of the platform at Fullerton. Brown Line trains (to Merchandise Mart) will serve the outer side of the platform at Fullerton. Having subway-bound trains serve one side of the platform and elevated trains serve the other side will help eliminate confusion and speed transfers.
- Weeknights: After 8 p.m. southbound (to the Loop) Brown Line trains will only operate to Chicago/Franklin.
- Weekends: Work on the track above the intersection at Lake and Wells, known as Tower 18, will now begin at 10 p.m. Friday on April 26 and May 3, rather than early Saturday mornings. This work will affect all Loop elevated rail line service – Brown, Green, Orange and Pink. Shuttle service frequency will be increased to assist weekend customers.
These temporary changes in service are needed while CDOT continues its reconstruction of the 90-year-old Wells Street Bridge. Simultaneously, CTA will perform work on Tower 18 and replace tracks in the curves at Hubbard and Kinzie, avoiding future street closures and service disruptions for CTA customers. 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.
Tower 18 is the CTA’s busiest junction, with five of eight rail lines passing through each weekday. This junction handles nearly 700 trains each weekday and nearly 500 on the average weekend. Upgrades to Tower 18 and additional track work will increase safety and reliability and is part of the CTA’s $33.8 million Loop Track Renewal project that launched last year.
CTA will communicate the temporary service changes with customers several ways, including large sandwich board signs and other signage at train stations; announcements on trains, updates on social media; handouts at stations; and online at www.transitchicago.com/wellsbridge.
WEEKEND SERVICE: April 26-28; May 3-5
Each weekend, beginning at 10 p.m. Friday through end of service on Sunday:
- Brown Line: service will terminate at Chicago/Franklin.
- Green/Pink Line: service from the west will terminate at Clinton/Lake.
- Orange Line: service will terminate at Washington/Wells (trains will travel on the Van Buren and Wells sides of the Loop only).
- Green Line (from the 63rd Street terminals): trains from the south will terminate at Adams/Wabash and a shuttle train will provide service to Clark/Lake.
- Blue Line: service will be unaffected.
- Red Line: will operate normally with additional service to accommodate increased passenger use.
- "'L' Shuttle” Bus (free): a weekend bus shuttle will operate between the following stations: Chicago/Franklin, Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake), Washington/Wells and Clinton/Lake. Shuttles will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
WEEKDAY SERVICE: April 29-May 3
AM/PM Rush Period Service
During the morning (AM) and evening (PM) rush periods only on weekdays from April 29-May 3:
- Purple Line Express: There will be no Purple Line Express service to the Loop. Purple Line trains will terminate at the Howard Station. Customers can transfer to Red Line trains at Howard or should consider alternative transportation.
- Brown Line (elevated): one of every three southbound Brown Line trains will terminate service at the Merchandise Mart. Note: at the Fullerton station only, southbound Brown Line trains operating to the Merchandise Mart will serve the southbound Brown Line (outer) side of the platform.
- Customers should consider taking Brown Line trains marked “Roosevelt” which will operate through the State Street Subway to Roosevelt due to limited service to the Merchandise Mart. (see below for more details)
- “Brown Line Shuttle” Bus (free): customers who wish to connect with other Loop trains to continue their trip can exit at the Chicago/Franklin station and take a bus shuttle to Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells. Shuttles will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).