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Construction on Red-Purple bypass in Lakeview to start this fall

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The $2.1 billion project will rebuild stations and make commutes quicker

A rendering of the modernization project shows Clark Street with four-story brick buildings on either side and a new, grey CTA tracks over the street.
Clark Streeet

A timeline is set for the $2.1 billion Red and Purple line modernization, which was first announced in 2014, and the first phase of construction will begin this fall in Lakeview.

The project will rebuild a six-mile section of century-old section of tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations and construct a new rail bypass bridge just north of Belmont station. The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations will be made fully accessible and close for more than three years. Temporary stations will be opened during the closures.

Beginning in fall, construction will start on the bypass bridge—the exact date is being finalized by contractor Walsh-Fluor Design. It will allow Kimball-bound Brown Line trains to cross over north and south bound Red and Purple Line trains. The update aims to improve service by increasing train speeds and easing crowded cars. It will also let the CTA run more trains during busy periods in the morning and evening.

The bypass construction is expected to finish at the end of 2021 followed by new track lines between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia ending in 2024. The station reconstructions will begin in late 2020 and wrap up in 2024. Plus a total of 23 track miles will be updated to improve signals, flow, and reliability.

The long-term project will likely cause disruptions in neighborhoods that are near the stations or elevated tracks. That’s why the CTA is hosting an open house to discuss any concerns and keep local business informed. Residents will be able to provide feedback on the renderings, landscaping, and other infrastructure elements.

A rendering shows the street view of the new grey CTA bypass. The elevated tracks are grey with concrete supports in a “Y” shape with metal fencing surrounding facilities at the base.
School Street
A view from the street with cars parked on either side shows a CTA overpass with LED lighting underneath and a new track system with Brown Line train running.
Newport Street