Red Ahead: Red & Purple Modernization

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Update: Contractor selection, advance utility relocation and property demolition work

Good news for CTA riders! CTA has begun Phase One of the Red and Purple Modernization Program. Currently, we’re in the pre-construction phase of the project, which includes property demolition and utility relocation work that needs to be performed ahead of starting the early project construction work in late 2019. In Spring 2018, we demolished a small number of properties in the project footprint and have begun the remaining property demolition work, with expected completion in late Winter 2019. We are also working with local utility companies to relocate utility poles, wires and other equipment near our tracks and expect to complete that work in the second half of 2019.

We also have taken the next major step in this transformational project by selecting a contracting team to design and build the first phase of RPM. The Chicago Transit Board in December 2018 approved the award of a $1.2 billion contract to The Walsh-Fluor Design Build Team, which will engineer, design and build RPM Phase One, following an 18-month comprehensive procurement process. The contracting team will be responsible for building new Red and Purple line track infrastructure, including:

  • Reconstructing the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations and track structure totaling six miles that is nearly a century old.
  • Building a rail bypass north of Belmont station that will improve service reliability on the Red, Purple and Brown lines, increasing train speeds, easing overcrowding on rail cars, and providing capacity for projected future growth.
  • Installing a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve CTA train flow and increase service reliability.

The Walsh-Fluor team brings to CTA its local, national and global transit construction experience, including Walsh’s construction of the CTA Wilson Red and Purple Line Station, completed in 2017. Fluor, a global contracting firm, has constructed other major U.S. rail projects, including the $2.1 billion Denver Eagle, and the $2 billion Purple Line (Maryland/D.C. suburbs). Read our press release here.

CTA and Walsh-Fluor beginning in 2019 will hold public meetings as design and construction planning begins on this exciting project. We will work closely with local communities and our customers on construction impacts to neighborhoods and service and developing ways to minimize those impacts. 

Stay informed by signing up for project emails at We look forward to hearing from you!