May 22, 2003


The sharpest turn in the Chicago Transit Authority rail system will become history over Memorial Day weekend when CTA realigns the S-shaped portion of elevated track between the Loop and Roosevelt Road known as the Harrison Curve. CTA will disconnect the tracks from the old structure at Harrison and Wabash and connect the newly constructed, straightened section to the remaining elevated structure.

As a result, rail service on the Orange and Green Lines will be affected between Roosevelt Station and the Loop over the three-day period from Friday, May 23 at 9 p.m. until Tuesday, May 27 at 2 a.m. Trains will resume their regular schedules on Tuesday morning.

Additionally, Congress will be closed between Michigan and State from 8 p.m. Friday evening until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Congress will be opened for 12 hours to accommodate the Memorial Day Parade Saturday before shutting down again from 8 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 27.

The closure will affect southbound #6 Jeffery Express buses which will be rerouted via Jackson and Michigan to resume the regular route. #145 Wilson-Michigan Express, #146 Marine-Michigan Express and #147 Outer Drive Express buses will operate in both directions via Michigan, Roosevelt and State then resume the regular route.

CTA customers will have several travel options for completing their trips on the Orange and Green Lines over Memorial Day weekend.

Customers in the Loop who want to connect to southbound trains heading to Midway, 63rd/Cottage Grove or Ashland/63rd, should take any train to the State/Lake elevated station and transfer to the Red Line. Customers can take the Red Line south (95th/ Dan Ryan) to Roosevelt where they can transfer back to the Orange and Green Lines.

Customers traveling north to the Loop on the Orange and Green Lines should travel to Roosevelt station and use the transfer tunnel to make a free connection to the Red Line subway. Customers can take the Red Line north (Howard) to the State/Lake station. From the State/Lake subway station, they can transfer to the State/Lake elevated station to connect with Orange, Green, and Brown Line trains.

A shuttle train will operate in the Loop along the inner elevated tracks, making all regularly scheduled stops.

Green Line trains heading inbound from Harlem will operate along their normal route to Clinton, and then circle the outer Loop counterclockwise instead of the normal clockwise route. All stops in the Loop will be made before heading outbound to Harlem.

All trains will run on their normal schedules and additional Customer Assistants will be on hand at rail stations to help customers with travel questions and to distribute transfers at Library-State/Van Buren and State/Lake for paid customers who want to access the Red Line at Jackson. Additionally, paratransit service will be available between accessible stations for customers with disabilities.

Although the realignment will take place Memorial Day weekend, the entire project will not be complete until the fall as some demolition work remains. The work will continue with minimal service interruptions. After replacing the curved structure this weekend, trains will travel at speeds up to 15 mph for the next two months while signal work is completed. Once completed, the maximum speed will be 35 mph.

CTA hired FH Paschen to handle Harrison Curve construction, which began in October 2002. More than 100 years old, the curve has slowed Green and Orange Line trains to 10 miles per hour. Straightening the curve enables the CTA to increase speeds on that section of track, allows more trains to travel into the Loop per hour, and provides a faster trip for the 58,800 rides taken over that section each day. In addition, replacing the curve's steel columns with concrete will reduce rail and wheel noise generated by the train.

The Harrison Curve elevated structure was built in 1897 by the South Side Elevated Railroad to connect with the Loop 'L' which was built by the Union Elevated Railroad. Both preceded the creation of the CTA.

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