CTA Begins Major Modernization Project On Red, Brown, Purple Lines That Will Cause Years Of Commute Disruption

Mike Krauser
October 02, 2019 - 11:38 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- CTA riders on the city's North Side can expect years of disruption as the transit agency begins a massive, $2 billion modernization project on portions of the Red, Purple and Brown Lines.  

The Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Project began today and is the largest reconstruction project in the agency's history, the mayor's office said. The CTA's RPM Phase One project is designed to modernize and replace century-old rail structures and stations, effectively improving the reliability, comfort and convenience of CTA service for decades to come. ADA stations will also be added and there will be less delay times, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

CTA is beginning construction on the new Red-Purple Bypass to unclog a 100-year-old junction where Red, Purple and Brown Line trains currently intersect. A major component of RPM Phase One, the Bypass construction will also rebuild four Red Line stations and century-old rail structure between the Lawrence and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations.

“Today is a historic day for Chicago transit as we begin the largest project in CTA history to modernize CTA rail service for the next century and rebuild the Red Line, the CTA’s busiest line,” said Lightfoot. "Public transit is the great connector of our city — and with this monumental project, we are building on our obligation to ensure Chicago’s transportation network is accessible, reliable and affordable for all residents of this city so that our neighborhoods and communities are connected to jobs, education and opportunity."

CTA President Dorval Carter said the project's completion date is 2025 and warned people it will be dirty, noisy and disruptive. Although it will impact people's commute, it will bring numerous benefits for commuters and local businesses, he said. 

“CTA customers will see a significant improvement in service with increased accessibility to rail service, less crowding on trains and rail platforms and shorter commute times,” Carter said.

He said the project will be a model for future CTA projects, like the Red Line Extention.   

Lightfoot said it's high time for the tracks and stations to be replaced; they were built in 1924 when Calvin Coolidge was president and when the Bears finished as a runner-up to the NFL championships. 

"This infrustructure is at its end of its use for life span," she said.