Longer Red Line North morning commutes, Wabash Avenue work begin Monday

SHARE Longer Red Line North morning commutes, Wabash Avenue work begin Monday

A year of longer morning commutes begins Monday for up to 19,000 Red and Purple Express Line riders as the CTA begins the next phase of its $203 million Wilson Station Reconstruction project.

Loop drivers also face some changes due to other CTA work starting Monday. Wabash Avenue will be closed between Washington and Madison starting before the morning rush Monday and lasting for the next 18 months to allow work on the CTA’s new Washington-Wabash station.

Due to the Wilson Station work, Loop-bound Purple Express customers could see their morning-rush lengthened between four and six minutes; Loop-bound Red Line North passengers may see a two- to four-minute longer morning ride.

That will be the result of the shutting down the western-most of four tracks between Wilson and Belmont, CTA officials say.

The Purple Express trains that use that track will instead be sharing one with Red Line North trains and adding stops at Wilson, Sheridan and Addison.

In the next year, the CTA will be replacing the westernmost tracks on either side of Wilson, building a new southbound platform, and adding temporary entrances and a temporary exit to the Wilson station.

By the time the project ends in 2017, the 1923-era station will be transformed into a transfer point for Purple Line Express trains, with elevator access to platforms.

The Wabash Street closures are due to work on the $74.85 million Washington-Wabash CTA station, which will replace two century-old stations at Madison and Randolph with a single, modern, fully accessible station with wider platforms and a dramatic zipper-like roof.

All business frontages and sidewalks will remain accessible during the project, Chicago Department of Transportation officials said.

Designated valet and delivery drop-off zones will be available on Madison and Washington streets. An additional valet parking area will be open on Wabash between Randolph and Washington to serve the Garland Building on that block. Plus, Macy’s will have valet spots on both Randolph and Washington.

By March 16, the Madison Street L station will close to begin demolition of the existing station.

More drivers into the Loop will be affected starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday, when the Illinois Department of Transportation will begin phasing in ramp and lane closures for the kickoff of more than a year of work on the Jane Byrne Interchange. Drivers south and west of the Loop headed in and out of downtown will be affected.

Tuesday night’s closures — delayed from an original March 7 start date — will shut down the ramp from Roosevelt Road to Interstate 290/Congress Parkway as well as the ramp from Taylor Street to the inbound Dan Ryan (Interstate 90/94). Detour signs will be posted.

By Friday, the ramp from the inbound Ryan to the inbound Congress Parkway will be closed, with detours posted; the ramps of the inbound and outbound Stevenson (Interstate 55) will be reduced to one lane each way; the right lane of the inbound Ryan from the Stevenson to Roosevelt Road will be closed; and the ramp from the inbound Ryan to the outbound Eisenhower will be shifted to a temporary roadway.

Those closures are part of $475 million overhaul of one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks. The work includes replacing the existing one-lane ramp from the inbound Ryan to the outbound Eisenhower with a two-lane flyover bridge.

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