Brown Line, Purple Line disrupted by Wells Street Bridge work

April 29, 2013 5:52:52 AM PDT
The next phase of repair work on a major downtown Chicago bridge could cause some problems for commuters this week.

Chicago Transit Authority officials say work on the historic Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River will affect service through May 5. It's the second phase of work. The bridge was closed for nine days in March as well.

CTA officials say there are alternative service plans, including additional bus service, rerouted trains and a shuttle train for the "temporary inconveniences" for riders.

Workers are rebuilding parts of the bridge and replacing tracks. It is a busy junction that handles nearly 700 trains each week day. The bridge is nearly 100 years old.

The bridge work has been going on all weekend, but Monday morning was a real test for commuters. Work is going on 24-7 all this coming week in order to limit inconvenience to CTA customers as much as possible. This time it is the northern half of the Wells Street Bridge that is being replaced.

More information from http://www.transitchicago.com/wellsbridge/

"I didn't even know this was going to happen," said Janet Santiago. "It's my first time taking the train, and I was confused."

"They did direct me, they were very helpful," said Richard Dean. "They told me how to get on the shuttle bus and then come here to get on to Fullerton."

In addition to replacing the north end of the bridge this weekend, additional track work performed at Hubbard and Kinzie, and above the intersection of Lake and Wells all but eliminated elevated train service in the Loop.

That will resume Monday, with exception of the Brown Line, which will end at the Merchandise Mart and the Purple Line Express, which won't run until the Wells Street Bridge work is complete on May 6.

"I live in Evanston, and I take the Purple Line to the Loop. I work in the Loop. So basically I'll need to take the Red Line all the way, so that's going to increase the time significantly," said Lydia Muwanga.

While all this is going on, shuttle bus service is in place for Brown Line customers who need to transfer to or from other train lines. Furthermore, on weekdays during both the morning and evening rush, one out of three Brown Line trains marked "Roosevelt" will run on the Red Line's subway tracks. The Red Line will be unaffected, but will likely be much more crowded than usual.

"It doesn't stress me out too bad, but I were having to go to an important meeting or something, it would be a little bit stressful, have to leave early," said Lisa Lien.

The new northern leaf of the bridge will be in place and the trains will go back to normal by May 6.


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