Design Work Continues On Replacement Of Metra UP North Bridges

View of current Metra bridge via Metra

Design development continues for the upcoming replacement of multiple bridges on Metra’s UP North Line across the north side. The work comes as the existing bridges push over 120-years in age with most of them held up by rusted columns, however the project has been a point of contention for locals since its announcement in 2021. The project is being led by Metra themselves who recently held its second community meeting on the proposed design.

Bridge replacement map via Metra

Replacing a total of 11-bridges from Fullerton Avenue in the south to Cornelia Avenue to the north, work will be executed in multiple phases with each bridge being replaced in sections in order to maintain double track service. This will allow Metra to continue to run the line at full capacity as it is the system’s third busiest line, serving 34,600 riders across its 52 miles of track.

Bridge replacement map via Metra

One of the main aspects of the work will be shifting the existing tracks to the west in order to align with the rest of the line; this will require Metra to expand their berm towards existing homes and green space. This has been a major point of contention with Metra adjusting plans to provide two-feet between current property lines instead of butting up against them, they will also provide new landscaping where possible in order to replace what was there.

Bridge replacement phasing plan via Metra

New bridges will be built in two-sections similar to the existing design, these will be installed in phases; the first with new tracks to the west while the current tracks remain open, the second in the middle while the two-outer tracks operate, once completed the third track on the east will be demolished.

Section of completed bridge replacement via Metra

The work will also replace many of the existing retaining walls which, along with the bridges, have run their course on how long they can be repaired and maintained in a cost-effective way. This will allow for new lighting, replaced sidewalks with better accessibility features where possible, and new paint across the line. The Lincoln Avenue bridge on the north will also be refurbished as a part of the work.

Bridge replacement timeline via Metra

The project will cost $337 million to complete, with Metra securing $279 million of it already via $156 million from Rebuild Illinois bond Funds, $117 from the Infrastructure bill, and $6 million from the Federal Transit Authority. Work is currently expected to begin mid-2024 and be completed by 2028 with minimal service disruptions.

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3 Comments on "Design Work Continues On Replacement Of Metra UP North Bridges"

  1. Finally! They should include the Pershing and Western bridge in this project. IYKYK

  2. Can only hope that whatever they build today will be as durable and long-lived. Hats off to the engineering and construction crews that built these relics of the City ordinance requiring all RR lines to be elevated within the City Limits. Also hope we won’t ever need the additional capacity of the third track that was all in place the way to Evanston. The design illustrates the removal of the bridges that used to carry that third track which was used to accommodate the C&NW 400 Streamliners to Milwaukee, Green Bay and Minneapolis as well as the many express commuter trains.

  3. When will they do the Clybourn bridge? That looks like it will collapse any day now.

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