Demolition is set to begin this week to make way for the CTA’s controversial “Belmont Flyover” and station modernization in Lake View, but officials insist the impact to residents and Cubs fans will be minimal.
Officials on Tuesday described the planned demolition as “relatively modest in scale,” creating “minimal” street closures — even as the new Cubs season fast approaches.
“We fully expect the Cubs to have a great season and we’re planning accordingly,” Chris Bushell, CTA’s chief infrastructure officer, said while talking to reporters on a conference call.
The first phase of the demolition, set to begin this week, is planned along North Wilton, just south of West School, as well as sections of North Clark in the same vicinity.
Construction on the $2.1 billion project is expected to get under way toward the end of 2019, officials said.
Plans include rebuilding four of the Red Line’s oldest stations — Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr.
The stations, when they’re completed, will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
The more controversial component of the project will create a massive elevated structure, elevating northbound Brown Line tracks over Red and Purple Line tracks to alleviate a major bottleneck that now occurs at a junction just north of the Belmont station.
Critics have, among other things, blasted the scale of the project, saying it creates a “roller coaster” that would tower over the Lake View neighborhood.
But officials Tuesday said they are doing everything possible to address the concerns of residents and business owners.
During demolition, work is set to begin at 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m.
Officials expect some parking lanes to be impacted, but not, typically, the roadways themselves. Any demolition not competed before the Cubs season begins will be done in the off season, officials said.
All of the properties surrounding the planned flyover have been acquired, while the majority for the station rebuilds are also now CTA-owned, Bushell said.