CTA to Install New Steel Viaduct at Church Street this Weekend

October 26, 2006

Shuttle Bus Service Provided for Purple Line Customers Friday, Saturday and Sunday

The Chicago Transit Authority and Evanston officials today outlined this weekend's Church Street viaduct construction work for which CTA will suspend service on the Purple Line over the weekend. From Friday evening at 8:30 p.m. through Sunday, construction crews will demolish the existing viaduct and install the new 92? foot long steel bridge that will be lifted and rolled into place. During that time, CTA Purple Line service will be suspended and buses that normally stop at the Davis rail station will be redirected to Davis Street due to street closures.

Purple Line service between Linden and Howard will be temporarily suspended on Friday, October 27 at 8:30 p.m. through Sunday, October 29 while the old viaduct is demolished and the new steel viaduct structure is hoisted by hydraulic lift and rolled into place by construction crews. Regular Purple Line service will resume Monday, October 30 at 4:30 a.m.

During the temporary closure, CTA will provide a bus shuttle for customers as a substitute for Purple Line service. Shuttle buses will operate in both directions during regular Purple Line service hours beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 27 until 1:30 a.m. Monday, October 30. Buses will make stops at or near all Purple Line stations.

"Although we try to limit the impact of construction projects on service as much as possible, a project of this magnitude requires us to have unrestricted access to the structure," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?When the project is completed, Purple Line customers and the City of Evanston will have a new attractive bridge with brighter lighting under the bridge."

In addition to viaduct replacement at Church Street, CTA crews will use this time to perform maintenance, repair and cleaning work at Purple Line stations and along the tracks. Plans include replacing rail ties, cleaning light fixtures and power washing and painting select stations if weather permits.

?This new viaduct is tangible proof of our commitment to bring the system to a state of good repair throughout our entire service area," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?We look forward to working with the Regional Transit Authority and our state and federal elected officials to secure the additional funding needed to help us stay the course in making infrastructure improvements that enhance service for our customers."

The Church Street viaduct is nearly a century old and has deteriorated over time due to exposure to the elements. It is the second of six bridges CTA will replace along the Purple Line as part of its multi-year commitment to replace or rehabilitate aging concrete viaducts along the Purple Line as capital funding becomes available. CTA replaced the Main Street viaduct in 2005.

CTA used Illinois FIRST funds for the replacement of the Main Street viaduct, however, with the end of the Illinois FIRST funding source, CTA turned to its Federal Transit Administration Rail Modernization funds to pay for the Church Street viaduct.

The CTA has determined that an $8 billion capital investment is needed in the next five years in order to allow the CTA to continue to provide safe and reliable service and meet growing transit needs. Of the projected $8 billion need, CTA has identified about $2.7 billion that could be available through federal funding or CTA-issued bonds, leaving a potential unfunded need at $5.8 billion.

Last year, federal legislators made a new financial commitment to the future health of public transit by passing SAFETEA-LU, the new transportation funding bill. A decision on an anticipated state capital program could help narrow the gap.

The Purple Line extends from the Linden station in Wilmette to the Howard terminal in Chicago where customers can make connections with Red and Yellow Line trains. Purple Line Express trains operate Monday through Friday during morning and afternoon rush periods offering non-stop service from Howard to Belmont, then making all stops to the Loop. The Purple Line is the sixth busiest rail line in the CTA system, totaling 3,033,576 rides in 2005.

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