Photos show the progress of the supporting columns for the eventual Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red-Purple Bypass rail set to rapidly increase L efficiency for the Brown, Purple, and Red Lines crossing through the Lake View neighborhood.
The CTA has contracted a joint coalition of Walsh Construction, a sub-company of Walsh Group, and Fluor Corporation to manage, design, and build the project. Known as the Walsh-Fluor Design Build Team, the venture will build a new detour for the Brown Line’s eastern track to loop over and around the north/southbound Red and Purple Lines, rather than crossing through as it veers off to the west.
The overall bypass stretches from Belmont Station to the south and W Newport Avenue to the north, and includes an elevated track replacement for all lines in this stretch. Beyond these improvements, additional track straightening will occur at the project’s northern edge to improve efficiency. An ABC7 News article mentioned that the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations would also be receiving renovations.
Overall, the CTA expects the bypass and improvements will add eight additional Red Line trains into service during rush hour periods, accommodate an additional 7,200 passengers per hour during rush hour, increase Red and Purple Line speeds by 60 percent on average, and save roughly 500,000 travel hours per year.
According to Mass Transit Magazine, the project has leveraged the help of other firms. Stantec Consulting Services is also involved as a leading party, along with additional involvement from International Bridge Technologies and TranSmart/EJM Engineering. Lastly, EXP is serving a major role having provided architectural and engineering services for all L-related buildings that are part of the project, as well as additional engineering services for the elevated rail portion.
The nearest station access for all three of the Purple, Brown, and Red Lines is Belmont Station just south of where the lines merge from the north.
Walsh Group reports the project’s price tag at $2.1 billion. So far, work has completed for demolition of occupying structures, as well as the addition of the supporting columns. Completion of the Brown Line’s Red-Purple Bypass is expected for next year. Meanwhile, the additional work on the newly elevated North Main Line, servicing the Red and Purple Lines, is expected to wrap up at the end of 2024.