Nearly two years after the Chicago Transit Authority announced its “Belmont Gateway” renovation of Avondale’s Belmont Blue Line stop and bus terminal, construction on the $15 million project is finally moving into high gear.
Work on the station prompted a last-minute closure of the existing transit stop over the weekend. The multi-day shutdown was announced by CTA on Friday afternoon with little prior warning, a move that “disappointed” 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Rosa, according to a Friday evening email sent to residents.
Although service was restored to passengers Monday morning, the busy bus-to-rail transfer point is expected to remain under heavy construction until work is complete at the end of December. Meanwhile, the Kimball and Belmont bus stops will temporarily moved kitty-corner to the opposite side of the intersection as the concrete bus turnaround is rebuilt.
The original Belmont station was constructed in 1970 and has received minimal improvements since. The makeover will create a new architectural canopy and provide a rider enclosure with a wind break, bus tracker, heat lamps, new signage, and infrastructure for the CTA’s pre-paid boarding program.
An ADA-compliant elevator, however, will not be added until the project’s yet-to-be-finalized second phase. The CTA plans to make all of its stations fully accessible—but not until 2036 at the earliest.
The design of the new Belmont Gateway comes from Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects, a firm known for local projects including the Chicago Riverwalk, Fulton Market’s glassy Morgan Green Line stop, and River North’s solar panel-topped McDonald’s. Walsh Construction was awarded a contract to build both the Belmont project as well as a $25 million overhaul of the Jefferson Park Transit Center last fall.