Mayor Emanuel, CTA Announce Purple Line Express Track Improvement Project

July 9, 2015

$30 Million Rehabilitation Project Will Upgrade Track Infrastructure, Improving Service Reliability Between Lawrence To Jarvis; Work Scheduled To Begin July 20

Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. today announced a new $30 million track improvement project on Purple Line Express tracks between Lawrence and Jarvis, the latest in its ongoing investment in the Purple Line to improve service for customers.

The Purple Line Express Track Improvement Project will upgrade track infrastructure and provide faster, smoother and more reliable and will be the largest track renewal project for this section of track in 40 years.

“Modernizing our rail lines has been a critical piece of the comprehensive investment we’re making in Chicago’s world-class transit system,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This major investment in the Purple Line Express complements improvements we are making to rail service throughout the city, and will provide better service to customers who live in Chicago or are commuting into the city to work, go to school or visit this great city.”

The work is just the latest of several improvements CTA has made to Purple Line service, which includes the ongoing Ravenswood Connector project that is rehabilitating tracks shared by Brown and Purple Line Express trains between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart. It also follows a major track improvement project completed in 2013 that rehabilitated tracks and eliminated slow zones between Howard and Linden.

"The CTA is committed to modernizing our rail system for the more than 13,000 daily riders on the Purple Line Express,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. “Once work is completed, the Purple Line Express will provide customers with a more reliable and comfortable commute.”

The estimated four-month project is scheduled to begin July 20th with construction expected to be completed by the end of November 2015. The project includes the replacement of track ties, restoration of track alignment and partial replacement of running rail along aging Purple Line Express tracks that serve more than 3.5 million passenger trips each year.

Construction on the tracks will take place on solely on week nights and weekends to minimize impacts to neighboring homes and businesses. The work will have minimal to no impact to Red Line service during construction periods and will include occasional minor reroutes to Red Line tracks in the proximity to Purple Line Express tracks. The work will have no impact on regularly scheduled Purple Line Express service throughout the rehabilitation.

The last major renewal of these tracks occurred in the early 1970’s and, aside from the spot replacement of a few ties, the majority of ties along this stretch of the Purple Line express have reached the end of their useful life. Maintaining safe and reliable operating conditions becomes more difficult and costly as the infrastructure ages.

Due to the condition of the tracks in this corridor, Purple Line Express trains headed to or from the Loop currently must travel through several slow zones that impact the speed and reliability of service to customers. The Purple Line Track Improvement project is part of CTA’s effort to repair aging infrastructure and provide faster and more reliable service to customers. Red and Purple Line tracks are among the oldest in the system.

Details on the exact construction schedule and how service will be affected are still being finalized. As with all large-scale projects, the CTA will strive to minimize impacts to service and the surrounding community.

For more information on the project please visit www.transitchicago.com/pxproject.

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