Construction activity associated with a major project to replace 22 bridges along the Union Pacific North line and rebuild the Ravenswood Station will begin in the next two weeks.
The work is not expected to impact rush-hour commuters on the line, and because two tracks on the line will remain operational, the current UP North schedule will not change due to construction activity. However, there could be some midday, night and weekend delays due to the project.
The 22 bridges are more than 100 years old and can no longer be economically repaired and maintained. The new bridges will offer increased safety and will last for more than 100 years.
Their replacement will be done in two phases of 11 bridges each. The first phase, which will take until 2015, will cover bridges over Balmoral, Foster, Winnemac, Lawrence, Leland, Wilson, Sunnyside, Montrose, Berteau, Irving Park and Grace. The work also includes retaining wall construction along the western edge of the elevated tracks. The bridge and retaining wall work will require periodic closures of streets and sidewalks in the area.
Bridges between Addison and Webster will be done in the second phase, which will finish in 2019.
Construction of the new Ravenswood Station, the only stop in the construction zone and the busiest stop on the UP North line, will also be done during the first phase, starting in Spring 2012. The new 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. A temporary platform also will also be built on the outbound side, north of Lawrence. Trains will use that temporary platform until the outbound side of the new station is completed in about two years.
Construction updates and alerts will be sent to all riders who have signed up to receive them under the “My Metra” feature on Metra’s website.