CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project to Begin Final Major Phase of Four Red Line Station and Track Reconstruction

May 31, 2023

CTA will begin building four new, fully accessible stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr that replace century-old stations; CTA to also begin rebuilding southbound Red, Purple tracks

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the agency this summer will begin the final major phase of the transformational Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization project, which is part of CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project. This phase includes the start of construction of four new, fully accessible Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr.

The agency also announced it will hold community meetings in June 2023 to provide information about the work, project benefits and impacts to neighbors and CTA customers.

By starting the last major phase of this modernization, CTA is moving closer to providing customers with smoother, more reliable rail service, as well as fully accessible Red Line stations with elevators and escalators, wider platforms, and other amenities. CTA also reaches a significant project milestone, by completing what will be the new northbound Red and Purple Line tracks in summer 2023. This means CTA customers will get to experience some of the improved service from the RPM project – with trains using new, quieter and smoother tracks between the Wilson station and just south of the Thorndale station. The Red Line is CTA’s busiest line and runs 24/7.

“We continue to work hard to improve the Red Line, from rebuilding century-old infrastructure to extending the Red Line on the Far South Side to expand access to transit,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The RPM project is an important part of our commitment to making the entire CTA rail system fully accessible.  I look forward to opening the new Red Line stations with elevators and escalators for our customers.”

The $2.1 billion RPM Phase One Project includes rebuilding CTA track structures and stations between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, the majority of which are being rebuilt in two stages, Stage A and Stage B:

  • Stage A (2021-2023): CTA has been reconstructing what will be the northbound Red and Purple tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. During this work, CTA Red and Purple Line Express trains have shared the two remaining tracks to allow CTA to continue rail service during construction.

  • Stage B (2023-2025): When Stage A is completed and trains have been rerouted to the two new east tracks, CTA will close the two older west tracks and begin to rebuild what will be the southbound Red and Purple track structures. CTA will also begin to construct the new, fully accessible Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr. The work will include new track, support structures, bridges, and viaducts built along the approximately 1.3-mile segment between Leland and Ardmore Avenues, eliminating many deteriorated structures in the community. The date for the start of Stage B will be announced soon.

Stage B:

Service changes

Red and Purple Line service will continue throughout construction. During Stage B beginning this summer, general impacts are expected to include:

  • New temporary rail station locations for Argyle & Bryn Mawr. Stage A temporary stations will close when Stage B temporary stations open.

  • Bryn Mawr temporary station will be southbound-only during Stage B because there is no space to build a platform that can serve northbound trains. Customers traveling northbound can:

    • Board a southbound train at Bryn Mawr to the next station at Argyle, then cross the platform to board a northbound train

    • Use the Thorndale Red Line station ¼-mile north of the Bryn Mawr station.

  • Lawrence and Berwyn stations will remain closed during Stage B

  • Red & Purple line service will run on the two new easternmost tracks instead of the usual four tracks

  • Red Line trains will stop at the two temporary stations (except for northbound trains at Bryn Mawr), while Purple Line Express trains will continue to run nonstop between Howard and Wilson.

Changes to Red Line-bus connections when Stage B begins:

  • #81 Lawrence current bus reroute to the Wilson Red Line will continue in Stage B

  • #84 Peterson will be rerouted so that it connects with both Bryn Mawr Stage B temporary station (note: southbound-only service) and Thorndale station (with northbound and southbound service)

  • #92 Foster bus will resume its normal, pre-construction route (via Berwyn Avenue instead of rerouting via Bryn Mawr Avenue) and will connect to Foster end of Argyle Stage B temporary station

  • #146 Inner Lake Shore/Michigan Express will continue its normal route and stop/layover at Berwyn/Broadway, and will connect to Foster end of Argyle Stage B temporary station

Stage B new station and track construction

Demolition of 100-year-old track structure

  • CTA’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor, will demolish the southbound Red and Purple Line track structures (the two westernmost tracks). This includes complete demolition of the embankment wall and bridges over cross streets in the Uptown and Edgewater communities between W Ardmore and W Lawrence avenues.

Build new track support system

  • Walsh-Fluor will build new track support columns on the west side of the CTA track structure.

  • The contractor will drill deep shafts, about 60-80 feet below ground, and fill with concrete, to create the foundations for new track support columns.

  • Support columns will be installed on top of the drilled shafts to support new track structure.

Build the new track structure

  • The new bridges and tracks will be built via an overhead gantry system that will install pre-cast concrete bridge segments that are manufactured off-site and trucked into the RPM project area. The construction method minimizes impacts to the community and the area needed by the contractor around the Red Line tracks to perform the construction work.

Stage B community meetings June 21-22, 2023

Meetings will be held in person and will be recorded and posted on our web site. Register for either meeting here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/get-ready-for-the-lawrence-bryn-mawr-reconstructions-final-stage-tickets-646543648457.

June 21

Lawrence and Argyle stations

St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, 5649 N Sheridan

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

June 22

Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations

St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, 5649 N Sheridan

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Translation services will be available upon request.

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.

  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction (completed in 2021) and the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (ongoing).

  • 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 (ongoing).

The Red Line and RPM

The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, historically providing more than 67 million rides a year and 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.

RPM is just the latest in a number of Red Line projects announced and/or completed in the last decade, including:

  • Red Line South Reconstruction

  • Red North Station Interim Improvements

  • 95th/Dan Ryan Station and Terminal Improvements

  • Wilson Station Reconstruction

  • Clark/Division Station Renovation

  • Loyola Station Renovation

  • Red Line Extension

Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at transitchicago.com/RPMalerts.

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(Links to high-res station renderings here.)

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