Round 2 of CTA commuting pain: Wells St. bridge to close late Friday

CTA commuters to the Loop and River North face another nine days of commuting hell starting late Friday when the Wells Street bridge closes for reconstruction through May 5.

Those of us who have been through this know it takes some planning and patience to get through. Here are the basics. And it looks like the CTA has learned from the last closure.

  • Service on the Purple Line Express is suspended.
  • Weekdays: During the AM rush period only – all southbound Red Line and Brown Line trains operating to Roosevelt via the subway will serve the Red Line (inner) side of the platform at Fullerton. Brown Line trains (to Merchandise Mart) will serve the outer side of the platform at Fullerton. Having subway-bound trains serve one side of the platform and elevated trains serve the other side will help eliminate confusion and speed transfers. (This is new.)
  • Weeknights: After 8 p.m. southbound (to the Loop) Brown Line trains will only operate to Chicago/Franklin.
  • Weekends: Work on the track above the intersection at Lake and Wells, known as Tower 18, will now begin at 10 p.m. Friday on April 26 and May 3, rather than early Saturday mornings. This work will affect all Loop elevated rail line service – Brown, Green, Orange and Pink. Shuttle service frequency will be increased to assist weekend customers.

And as in March, the CTA simultaneously will perform work on Tower 18 and replace tracks in the curves at Hubbard and Kinzie, avoiding future street closures and service disruptions for CTA customers. By performing the work while CDOT completes the Wells bridge repairs, CTA will reduce the duration of the work by eight days.  Additionally, combining the work will save CDOT and CTA $500,000 in construction coordination costs, the CTA says.

Here are details for weekend and weekday service.

Weekend service: April 26 to 28; May 3 to 5

Each weekend, beginning at 10 p.m. Friday through end of service on Sunday:

  • Brown Line: service will terminate at Chicago/Franklin.
  • Green/Pink Line: service from the west will terminate at Clinton/Lake.
  • Orange Line: service will terminate at Washington/Wells (trains will travel on the Van Buren and Wells sides of the Loop only).
  • Green Line (from the 63rd Street terminals): trains from the south will terminate at Adams/Wabash and a shuttle train will provide service to Clark/Lake.
  • Blue Line: service will be unaffected.
  • Red Line: will operate normally with additional service to accommodate increased passenger use.
  • "'L' Shuttle” Bus (free): a weekend bus shuttle will operate between the following stations: Chicago/Franklin, Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake), Washington/Wells and Clinton/Lake. Shuttles will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).

Weekday service: April 29 to May 3

During the morning (AM) and evening (PM) rush periods only on weekdays from April 29-May 3:

  • Purple Line Express: There will be no Purple Line Express service to the Loop. Purple Line trains will terminate at the Howard Station. Customers can transfer to Red Line trains at Howard or should consider alternative transportation.
  • Brown Line (elevated): one of every three southbound Brown Line trains will terminate service at the Merchandise Mart. Note: at the Fullerton station only, southbound Brown Line trains operating to the Merchandise Mart will serve the southbound Brown Line (outer) side of the platform.
    • Customers should consider taking Brown Line trains marked “Roosevelt” which will operate through the State Street Subway to Roosevelt due to limited service to the Merchandise Mart. (see below for more details)
    • “Brown Line Shuttle” Bus (free): customers who wish to connect with other Loop trains to continue their trip can exit at the Chicago/Franklin station and take a bus shuttle to Merchandise Mart (at LaSalle/Kinzie), Clark/Lake (at LaSalle/Lake) and Washington/Wells. Shuttles will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Brown Line to Roosevelt (subway): the remaining (two out of three trains) southbound Brown Line trains – which will be marked “Roosevelt” with a red colored destination sign – will travel through the Red Line State Street subway, with Brown Line service terminating at Roosevelt. Note: at the Fullerton station only, southbound Red and Brown line trains that are scheduled to operate through the State Street subway will serve the southbound Red Line (inner) side of the platform.
  • Loop Shuttle Train (free transfer): will be provided to operate only around the Loop to assist Brown Line customers who exit another train in the Loop. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Bus Service Alternative (south of Fullerton): to assist Brown Line passengers on the southern portion of route and Red Line customers at the North/Clybourn station, CTA will add temporary weekday bus service to the peak travel direction during the AM and PM rush periods along the #37 Sedgwick route (normal bus fares will apply).
    • Some of this additional service will be provided as a temporary deviation to the route with service starting at the Armitage Brown Line station (via “#37A Sedgwick/Armitage” buses) and then connect to North/Clybourn Red Line Station and resume the regular #37 route at North and Sedgwick. The #37 extends south into the Loop to the Wells/Adams.
    • Service will also be added to the #37 Sedgwick route starting/ending at Fullerton.
  • Added Bus Service: additional service will be provided on #22 Clark AM/PM rush; #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express and #147 Outer Drive Express PM rush only.
  • Red Line: CTA will also be providing its usual extra service for fans heading to evening Cubs games at Wrigley Field.

Midday and evening service

At all other times outside of the AM and PM rush periods:

  • Brown Line: No Brown Line trains will operate in the subway. Service will be reduced and trains will operate every 10-12 minutes with 8-car trains operating to the Merchandise Mart until 8 p.m. After 8 p.m. southbound (to the Loop) Brown Line trains will only operate to Chicago/Franklin. Shuttles will operate between Chicago/Franklin and the Loop from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Loop Shuttle Train (free transfer): will be provided to operate only around the Loop to assist Brown Line customers who exit another train in the Loop. Will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to end of service (approximately 1:30 a.m.).
  • Red Line: Additional off-peak service will be added.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

Comments

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  • Might eliminate the confusion at Fullerton; definitely not north of it.

  • Extra service to 95th St.? Which adds to uneeded congestion.

  • I think this should have been timed for a week where the Cubs do not have any home games. Instead, it's during a week where there is a Cubs home game every single day of the week, including night games on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. People coming northbound from the loop are going to be in for a world of annoyance on those days...

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    I think it won't be too bad. People were getting the hang of it last time, this should just be easier this time around.

  • It looks like people at the CTA actually learned something from last time.

  • Hmm, Cubs night games on the Red Line are bad enough when all trains are operating normally! With all the extra people waiting for the Brown line in the subway AND the Cubs fans (who generally lack all sense of public transport etiquette) attempting to take the Red line, I'm going to avoid the impending mayhem and take the express bus home those evenings.

  • In reply to Matt:

    Matt, I haven't had any problems getting home during night games this season. I think not as many people are going to the games. But if it warms up, maybe more people will show up at Wrigley.

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