Chicago set to launch Red-Purple Bypass construction this fall

Posted on August 1, 2019

A rendering of Clark Street after construction.
Purple Group
A rendering of Clark Street after construction.Purple Group
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced construction for the Red-Purple Bypass is set to begin this fall, a major component of CTA’s Red Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project to rebuild the century-old rail system. The RPM Phase One project will make commuting better for CTA riders with improved service and modern, fully accessible stations.

A photo of Clark Street before construction.
Purple Group
A photo of Clark Street before construction.Purple Group

This fall, CTA will begin constructing new track foundations in the Lakeview community for a new rail bypass bridge that will replace an existing rail junction built in 1907 just north of the Belmont station. The new structure will be a bypass that will carry Kimball-bound CTA Brown Line trains over north and southbound Red and Purple Line tracks just north of Belmont station.

The bypass will improve service reliability on the Red, Purple, and Brown lines, increasing train speeds, easing overcrowding on rail cars and providing CTA the ability to increase the number of trains it can run during the busiest travel periods for the nearly 150,000 rides it currently carries.

Additionally, the project improves the local community by creating a brighter, cleaner, safer, and more pleasant pedestrian environment and will complement the comprehensive Transit Oriented Development Plan that CTA prepared in 2018 with the local community for parcels of land that will be available for development when construction is completed.

CTA is finalizing construction start dates with the project’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor Design Build Team and will continue to provide advance notification of construction impacts. Red Line service will continue throughout the entire project.

Since RPM Phase One was announced in 2014, public meetings have been held to gather community input regarding the project. As a result, CTA has responded to the community’s needs and concerns in preparation to construction in several ways, including the installation of flower boxes, butterfly sculptures and landscaping on Wilton Avenue and School Street along the fence bordering the CTA-owned lot. CTA has also helped promote construction-affected businesses during utility work with Open for Business banners, social media posts, and encouraging workers to eat and shop locally.

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