Union Pacific North
North side of Chicago
Union Pacific North
North side of Chicago
Metra is in the midst of a major project to replace aging bridges over 22 streets along the Union Pacific North Line on the north side of Chicago and to build a completely new Ravenswood Station.
In order to keep two tracks open during construction, a new track must be built west of the two existing tracks, along the western edge of the elevated right of way. This is requiring the construction of sturdier retaining walls along that edge. When the project is completed, there will be room along the eastern edge of the right of way to add a third new track in the future, if there is demand and money to do so.
The bridges are more than 100 years old and can no longer be economically repaired and maintained. The new bridges will last for more than 100 years.
Their replacement will be done in two phases. The first phase, which will take until November 2015, has been divided into two parts. In the first part of the first phase, which is now underway, new bridges for one track are being built along the western edge of the right of way over Balmoral, Foster, Winnemac, Lawrence, Leland, Wilson, Sunnyside, Montrose, Berteau, Irving Park and Grace. The work also includes retaining wall work, new track and the construction of the western (outbound) portion of the new Ravenswood Station, the only stop in the construction zone and the busiest stop on the UP North line.
In the second part of the first phase, new bridges for a second track will be built over the same 11 streets, adjoining and directly east of the first bridges. The phased construction is necessary in order to keep two tracks open to trains during construction, to minimize the impact on passenger service.
Bridges between Addison and Webster will be done in the second phase, which will finish in November 2019.
The new Ravenswood Station, to be rebuilt in its current location, will offer longer, covered platforms, warming shelters, improved lighting, landscaping, a ticket office, vendor space, ramps and stairs. It will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
UP North trains have been using a temporary platform on the inbound side of Ravenswood since last fall. Trains will continue to use that platform until the first phase of the bridge project is done in 2015.
Another temporary platform has been built on the outbound side, north of Lawrence. Trains will use that temporary platform until the outbound side of the new station is completed near the end of 2013.
The plan to rebuild 22 bridges along the Union Pacific North Line requires the construction of sturdier retaining walls along the western edge of the elevated right of way on the north side of Chicago, which will impact existing landscaping.
Metra doing everything it can to minimize the impact of the retaining wall work on landscaping in the area.
The sturdier walls are needed because the plan calls for keeping two tracks open for trains during construction. In order to do that, a new track must be built closer to the western edge of the elevated right of way, on the west side of the two existing tracks. The walls are needed to support that new track.
It was Metra’s desire to avoid the expensive retaining wall work that prompted the unsuccessful plan in 2010 to operate inbound and outbound trains on a single track in the construction zone. That plan would have centered the new bridges and tracks in the right of way, minimizing the retaining wall work needed on either side.
Where there is room to do so, Metra will minimize the size of the wall by putting in a landscaped slope up to the tracks. In other locations, the higher walls will be made as presentable as possible. For details, please click here and the for track diagram click here.
When the project is completed, there will be room along the eastern edge of the right of way to add a third new track in the future, if there is demand and money to do so. If that third track is added in the future, similar retaining wall work would be needed along the eastern edge of the right of way.