'Loop Link' closures begin Monday; CDOT installing bus-only lanes on Madison

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lane closures lead to more traffic congestion downtown, where the Loop Link project began installing bus-only routes on Madison Street.

Loop Link is designed to speed up downtown bus travel. But the construction is slowing down commuters trying to go west on Madison through Chicago's busy Loop.

Westbound Madison Street is reduced to two lanes from State Street to Clark Street. Southbound Clinton Street is reduced to two lanes from Randolph Street to Jackson Boulevard.

PHOTOS: New Loop CTA bus express lanes


Bright red, bus-only lanes are going in on Madison, which will also have large canopied bus stations. Bikes will also have their own lanes.

"Even though it's painful while it's going on, it's gonna be so much better. Rush hour is out of control. I go west to Clinton and it takes 20 minutes," Sarah Kosenka, commuter, said.

Half of all travelers in the Loop take the bus, CDOT officials said, and the Loop Link will improve that traffic flow and connect Union and Ogilvie Metra stations to Michigan Avenue.

CTA TRAIN STATION WORK ALSO UNDERWAY IN LOOP

Chicago Transit Authority riders are also feeling the crunch in the Loop. Work began last week on a new $75 million Washington Wabash train station, which will replace the two century-old stations at Madison and Randolph.

"It doesn't bother me at all. I mean the station is old, it needs renovating," Barbara Yousef said.

The CTA expects the new Washington Wabash station to take about 18 months to complete. CTA riders should use the stations at Randolph and Wabash or Adams and Wabash to get around the construction.

"It's two blocks extra walking so on a day like today when it's 70 degrees in March, OK. Not a bad thing. But you know in the winter it's a little horrible," CJ Murzyn said.

"We're really excited about this. These projects have been decades in the making in terms of addressing the need for replacement of aging infrastructure, as well as modernizing our transportation systems downtown," CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said

For more on the projects, visit ChicagoLoopLink.com or
http://www.transitchicago.com/washingtonwabash.



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