Downtown lane closures expand as Loop Link construction begins

SHARE Downtown lane closures expand as Loop Link construction begins

Transit officials are expanding closures along Madison Street downtown as construction starts on the Loop Link, a new bus-rapid transit project.

The project will turn two major east-west streets — Washington and Madison — into speedier corridors for buses traveling from Union Station to Millennium Park by creating bus-only lanes and raised bus platforms.

A construction zone along Madison has already reduced traffic to two lanes between State and Clark as of Monday.

Starting early Friday, the lane reductions will extend several more blocks, going along Madison from La Salle to Wacker, the Chicago Department of Transportation said Wednesday. Additional lane closures along Madison could happen overnights and on weekends.

Crews will begin work on eastbound Washington at Canal and northbound Canal at Van Buren later this spring.

Officials previously warned that street closures will lead to traffic delays and urged drivers to either allow extra time or find an alternate route.

The Loop Link project has been in development for years, and will make bus travel faster and safer for about 30,000 bus commuters, officials said.

After the project is complete in late 2015, cars and trucks will share two lanes of traffic on Madison, Washington, Canal and Clinton. Buses and bikes will share the remaining space. Raised bus platforms will allow safer boarding and buses will get early green lights at seven intersections.

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