Wells Street Bridge Project to Temporarily Affect CTA Service

February 11, 2013

CTA to offer extensive alternative service during temporary closure; coordinating work reduces travel impacts, cost; agency encourages customers to plan ahead and allow extra travel time

As part of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) ongoing reconstruction of the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will temporarily cease train service on the bridge for two 9-day periods in early March and late April. 

CTA today announced a comprehensive alternative service plan incorporating added bus service, shuttle buses, some rerouted trains and a Loop shuttle train to alleviate some of the temporary inconveniences for both weekday and weekend riders.

During these periods, CTA train service will be significantly impacted, including reduced capacity on the Red and Brown lines during the peak of the rush period, which will result in longer commute times and more crowded trains for those who normally travel commute during weekday rush periods. CTA strongly encourages its customers to plan ahead for longer commutes by leaving earlier, changing travel patterns or considering alternative service.

CTA service will be affected from Friday, March 1, beginning at 10 p.m. and resume in time for the morning rush on Monday, March 11; and again beginning on Friday, April 26, beginning at 10 p.m. and resuming in time for the morning rush period on Monday, May 6.

While CDOT closes the 90-year-old Wells Street Bridge for an extensive reconstruction—rebuilding one leaf of the bascule bridge during each 9-day segment—CTA will perform needed replacement of tracks on and near the bridge. Coordinating the work will minimize the impact on CTA riders and reduce overall construction costs, officials said.

In addition to work on the bridge itself, CTA will rebuild the tracks above the intersection of Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18, and replace tracks in the curves at Hubbard and Kinzie, just north of the Merchandise Mart, avoiding additional street closures and service disruptions for CTA customers.  Tower 18 is the CTA’s busiest junction, with 5 of 8 rail lines passing through every weekday. This junction handles nearly 700 trains a day and nearly 500 on the average weekend.

Upgrades to Tower 18 and additional track work will increase safety and reliability for customers and is part of the CTA’s $33.8 million Loop Track Renewal project launched in March 2012. By performing the work while CDOT completes the Wells bridge repairs, CTA will reduce the duration of the work by eight days.  Additionally, combining the work will save CDOT and CTA $500,000 in construction coordination costs.

CTA will communicate the temporary service changes with customers via several methods, including large, sandwich board signs and other signage at train stations; announcements on trains, updates on social media; informational handouts at stations; and via the CTA website at www.transitchicago.com/wellsbridge.

“CDOT and CTA have been working closely together to coordinate the two projects to minimize the impact on CTA customers and reduce the overall project cost,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “However, we encourage our customers to plan ahead, allow extra commuting time and in some instances, temporarily consider alternative service. 

The service changes include:

WEEKDAY SERVICE: March 4-8, April 29-May 3

AM/PM Rush Period Service (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.):
  • Purple Line Express: There will be no Purple Line Express service to the Loop for the weekday periods of March 4-8 and April 29-May 3. Purple Line trains will terminate at the Howard Station. Customers can transfer to Red Line trains at Howard or should consider alternative transportation.
  • Brown Line (elevated): one of every three southbound Brown Line trains will terminate service at the Merchandise Mart.
    • Customers should consider taking the Brown line to the State Street Subway due to limited service to the Merchandise Mart.
    • "Brown Line Shuttle" Bus (free): customers who wish to connect with other Loop trains to continue their trip can exit at the Chicago Avenue station and take a bus shuttle to the Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells stations. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Brown Line (subway): the remaining (2/3) southbound Brown Line trains will travel through the Red Line State Street subway, with Brown Line service terminating at Roosevelt.
  • Loop Shuttle Train (free transfer): will be provided to operate only around the Loop to assist Brown Line customers who exit another train in the Loop. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Bus Service Alternative (South of Fullerton): to assist Brown Line passengers on the southern portion of route and Red Line customers at the North/Clybourn station, CTA will add temporary weekday bus service to the peak travel direction during the AM and PM rush periods along the #37 Sedgwick route (normal bus fares will apply).
    • Some of this additional service will be put in as a temporary deviation to the route with service starting at the Armitage Brown Line station (via “#37A Sedgwick/Armitage” buses) and then connect to North/Clybourn Red Line Station and resume the regular #37 route at North/Sedgwick and will make all posted stops south of North Avenue.The #37 extends south into the Loop to the Clinton Blue Line stop. 
    • Additional service will also be added to the #37 Sedgwick route starting/ending at Fullerton.
  • Added Bus Service: additional service will be added to other existing bus routes: #22 Clark AM/PM rush; #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and #147 Outer Drive Express PM rush only.
Weekday from 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Service:
  • Brown Line: Service will be reduced and trains will operate every 10-12 minutes with 8-car trains operating to Merchandise Mart only. No Brown Line trains will operate in the subway.
  • "Brown Line Shuttle" Bus (free): customers who wish to connect with other Loop trains to continue their trip can exit at the Chicago Avenue station and take a bus shuttle to the Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells stations. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Loop Shuttle Train (free transfer): will be provided to operate only around the Loop to assist Brown Line customers who exit another train in the Loop. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Red Line: Additional off-peak service will be added.
Late Evening Service (after 10 p.m.):
  • Brown Line: After 10 p.m., southbound Brown Line trains will only operate to the Chicago/Franklin station. Shuttle buses will operate to the Loop.
  • "Brown Line Shuttle" Bus (free): customers who wish to connect with other Loop trains to continue their trip can exit at the Chicago Avenue station and take a bus shuttle to the Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells stations. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).

Weekend Service: March 2-3; March 9-10; April 27-28; May 4-5

  • Brown Line: service will terminate at Chicago/Franklin.
  • Green/Pink Line: service from the west will terminate at Clinton/Lake.
  • Orange Line: service will terminate at Washington/Wells (trains will travel on Van Buren and Wells sides of the Loop only).
  • Green Line (63rd/Cottage/Ashland): trains from the south will terminate at Adams/Wabash and a shuttle train will provide service to Clark/Lake.
  • Blue Line: service will be unaffected.
  • Red Line: will operate normally with additional service to accommodate increased passenger use.
  • "'L' Shuttle" Bus (free): a weekend bus shuttle will operate between the following stations: Chicago/Franklin, Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake), Washington/Wells and Clinton/Lake. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).

  

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