Transit Briefs: CTA, TTC

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Rendering Courtesy of CTA

Rendering Courtesy of CTA

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is set to begin the final stage of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project starting on July 28. Also, the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) 506 Carlton streetcar returns to service.

CTA recently announced that it will begin on July 28 the final major stage of the transformational Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization project, which is part of CTA’s RPM Phase One Project. This stage includes the construction of four new, fully accessible Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr. Work will be completed, and the new stations will open in 2025.

This stage, CTA says, means that customers will for the first time be able to ride Red and Purple Line Express trains that will travel on the new track structure between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, which replaces century-old tracks.

“We are pleased to start this next important phase of work that is modernizing and improving the Red Line for our customers,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This next major stage of construction will build state-of-the-art, fully accessible stations, moving us closer to our commitment to making the entire CTA rail system fully accessible. We’re doing all of this while providing career-building training opportunities, good jobs and plenty of opportunities for small businesses to participate in this historic Red Line project.”

CTA’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor, will demolish the southbound Red and Purple Line track structures (the two westernmost tracks). This includes complete demolition of the embankment wall and bridges over cross streets in the Uptown and Edgewater communities between W. Ardmore and W. Lawrence avenues.

Additionally, Stage B construction includes the following:

  • Walsh-Flour will build new track support columns on the west side of the CTA track structure.
  • The contractor will drill deep shafts, about 60-80 feet below ground, and fill with concrete, to create the foundations for new track support columns.
  • Support columns will be installed on top of the drilled shafts to support new track structure.

The new bridges and tracks will be built via an overhead gantry system that will install pre-cast concrete bridge segments, which are manufactured off-site and trucked into the RPM project area, like how construction was performed during Stage A work. The construction method, CTA says, minimizes impacts to the community and the area needed by the contractor around the Red Line tracks to perform the construction work.

The new, permanent, fully accessible stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr will be built during this stage. The new stations will be modern, larger and fully accessible stations that will include elevators, wider platforms, and vastly improved amenities.

The RPM Phase One Project includes the following three major components:

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100% accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles.
  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction (completed in 2021) and the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (ongoing).
  • Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, like roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability (ongoing).

The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM, CTA says, will replace aging infrastructure; increase the agency’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded. More information on RPM Next Phases is available here.

Beginning July 17, TTC’s 506 Carlton streetcar has returned to service along Gerrard St. E. and Coxwell Ave., following completion of streetcar track replacement, three weeks ahead of schedule.

The intersection at Coxwell Ave. and Lower Gerrard St. E. / Eastwood Rd. closed to all traffic in June, while TTC crews worked to install new streetcar tracks and realign overhead cabling. This followed replacement of water main infrastructure in the area by Toronto Water.

According to TTC, new streetcar tracks for the intersection were precision-built, pre-configured and staged at the agency’s Hillcrest Complex, which enabled engineers to excavate and replace the old rail infrastructure efficiently, with the least disruption to residents and businesses.

The 506 Carlton streetcar will service stops both ways along Gerrard St. E., and south on Coxwell Ave. to Queen St. E.

The 506C bus replacement will continue to operate between Castle Frank and Victoria Park stations, with stops along Parliament St., Gerrard St. E., Greenwood, Danforth and Coxwell avenues, Upper Gerrard St. E., and Victoria Park Ave.

“This is a tremendous example of how the TTC carefully plans and executes major infrastructure work,” said TTC Chair Jon Burnside. “The incredible team of engineers and repair crews completely rebuilt the Gerrard and Coxwell streetcar tracks, re-established and aligned new overhead cables, tested and commissioned the resumption of service in less than a month. It’s a large piece of work delivered ahead of schedule.”

“Our employees dedicate themselves to getting our customers to and from their destinations safely and on time,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “That also means going above and beyond to ensure our system is in a state of good repair, and to resume services as quickly as possible when major work, like track replacement, is required.”

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