The CTA is trying to put the “Express” back into the Purple Line Express with a $30 million track project that will start and finish by year’s end.
The project will fix aging track infrastructure, including replacing track ties and the restoration of track alignment from Lawrence to Jarvis on both Howard-bound and Loop-bound tracks. Currently there are almost two miles of slow zones in that area.
Work will start on July 20, with the project at full bore by early August. The CTA will do the track work on week nights and weekends when the Purple Line Express doesn’t run. The project will take about four months.
Red Line traffic may be affected during construction times as trains slow to let workers on the right-of-way move to safety. During the construction period, the track work won’t affect the schedule of the Purple Line Express.
The project includes the replacement of track ties, restoration of track alignment and partial replacement of running rail along aging Purple Line Express tracks that serve more than 3.5 million riders each year.
The last major renewal of these tracks occurred in the early 1970s. Aside from the spot replacement of a few ties, the majority of ties along this stretch of the Purple Line Express have reached the end of their useful life.
This newest Purple Line project complements other recent activity on the line.
Other improvements include the ongoing Ravenswood Connector project that is rehabilitating tracks shared by Brown and Purple Line Express trains between Armitage and the Merchandise Mart. It also follows a major track improvement project completed in 2013 that rehabilitated tracks and eliminated slow zones between Howard and Linden.
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