CTA to finish Wells St. Bridge work this weekend - for now

CTA to finish Wells St. Bridge work this weekend - for now
Work on the Wells Street bridge. (CTA photo)

Back to normal Monday. Back to normal Monday.

Keep repeating that mantra as you make your final annoying CTA commute Friday on the Red, Brown and Purple lines. CTA workers will complete work this weekend replacing the south segment of the Wells Street Bridge. Then your commute will be back to normal until late Friday, April 26, when the north segment of the bridge will be replaced.

Of course, if you work this weekend, or need to travel to the Loop, your commute still will be disrupted. From the CTA website:

Orange Line: Trains will operate between Midway and Washington/Wells, operating in both directions via Van Buren and Wells.

Green Line: Trains will run in three sections:

  • between Harlem/Lake and Clinton,
  • between Ashland/63rd–Cottage Grove and Adams/Wabash,
  • as a shuttle between Adams/Wabash and Clark/Lake (transfer at Adams/Wabash between shuttle trains and trains to/from 63rd Street).

Pink Line: Trains will operate between 54th/Cermak and Clinton.

Brown Line: Trains will operate between Kimball and Chicago.

Free shuttle buses will operate between Chicago Brown Line, Clark/Lake, Washington/Wells and Clinton to make connections between rail lines.

Allow extra travel time. For more information, visit the Wells Street Bridge Reconstruction page.


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    Compared to other reconstruction projects this was only minor inconvenience for me. I actually liked being able to stay on the Brown Line all the way from Francisco to Roosevelt. And now the project will be more than halfway done (I assume Tower 18 was fixed).

  • I think it's actually made my commute better. Southport to the Mart has been easy (and vice versa) as long as you pay attention to train tracker. And fewer stops and starts between Armitage and Chicago.

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    The only pain I had to feel is the Orange and Pink lines being limited during the weekend...otherwise, Brown Line subway trips to Roosevelt have actually been very useful...why doesn't the Purple or Brown go in the subway?

  • The Purple should use the subway & that's been proposed before.

    They still can't get the destination signs right. I saw a Purple pulling into Howard with "Howard" on the front & "Cottage Grove" on the rear!

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    In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I'm in agreement that Purple should use the subway instead of the L...the Brown Line reroute to Roosevelt has proven this much.

    Also, I've noticed the destination sign failures on CTA's part this week...and I'm a little surprised that the LED signs on the 5000-series doesn't reflect service changes. Example: I took a Pink Line train heading to downtown from 18th over the past weekend, the sign still said it was going to the Loop, but clearly it was to end at Clinton. Train Tracker reflects this, why can't the 5000s?

  • This was debated on chicagobus.org. The bottom line seemed to be (minus one thug) is that the system that runs Mr. CTA and the signs could have been reprogrammed, but apparently the effort wasn't worth it. On the other hand, bus signs got reprogrammed, some incorrectly.

    Besides having to reprogram the sequence of audio announcements in any of the cars, in the case of the 5000s, I assume that graphics files would have to be loaded for the new destination signs.

    Not an excuse, just a possible explanation.

  • Sometime after 1900 Friday evening, Kimball Terminal marked the end of one segment of the Wells Street Bridge project with a simple radio transmission...."my last Roosevelt Designation train." The Train Tracker display on the platform at Roosevelt (Red) would indicate that these trains would make one more stop, 35th Bronzeville. I never got to see how Train Tracker treated those Brown line reroutes that went on to Midway Terminal.

    Every reroute train carried a new symbol, the square red stickers, in two sizes. News media had mistakenly implied that these stickers would help passengers identify which rerouted trains were going through the subway....like what passenger is NOT going to read the rollsigns FIRST and look for some kind of sticker instead. No, the stickers were for yard personnel assembling railcars into eight car trainsets. The stickers quickly identified which cars had the "Roosevelt" roll sign and given the number of solidly stickered trains rolling through the subway, the CTA did inded have enough cars for the service and enough cars that should have been correctly designated so, during the Monday first day misstep. Whoever thought up the idea of the stickers deserves a "hero of the project" award.

    Of course assembling the large numbers of "Roosevelt" cars has tossed 'L' line car rosters up in the air. A CTA manager joked that probably " no one knows where anything is today." There is also no word if the normal car assignments will be restored now or wait til the second bridge project in late April.

    The Brown line reroutes were a new experience to Chicago that New York's MTA does often on weekly and daily basis. in fact so often that their millions of riders take it in stride. Chicago has had the combination of Brown and Orange plus Pink line diverting to Roosevelt (Green) under its belt. The decades old "over the top" reroute of the Red line is old hat. So now the city can slowly become accustomed to knowing that a Brown line train in the subway will also stop at Chicago and State, but the bridge is not expected to need replacement any time soon.

    The CTA has also stuck to its planned deployment of the new 5000 series cars. Crews must be trained and qualified to operate 5000 series cars and training costs money thus the CTA will not move 5000 series cars willy nilly. The congestion that developed needs a detailed analysis. Is it necessary entirely....and the CTA has video records, passenger counts, direct observations. Is it desirable to run a certain number of trains, putting all passengers aboard, but riding at a slow, slow speed in red blocks or sitting minutes in a station. This needs a scientific study to arrive at the best ratio.


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