June 2, 2021

Mayor Lightfoot, Sen. Durbin, Rep. Quigley and CTA Break Ground on Historic Lawrence To Bryn Mawr Red Line Modernization Project

CTA begins reconstruction of 100-year-old stations, track structure between Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations to build fully accessible stations as part of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project

CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. today were joined by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley to break ground on the historic Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project, which is part of the CTA’s historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project. 

CTA will begin this spring rebuilding the 100-year-old Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations and track structures on the CTA’s busiest rail line. The new stations, which will open by the end of 2024, will be modern, larger, and fully accessible stations that will include elevators, wider platforms, and other improved amenities. CTA will also rebuild the century-old track structure between the four contiguous stations, which will provide a smoother, more comfortable, and more reliable ride. 

"The CTA is what ties our city together and has long connected our residents to jobs, education and opportunity," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Thanks to today's groundbreaking, which is an important step forward in our mission to modernize the Red Line with the largest project in CTA history, we are able to enhance those positive impacts even more. I am grateful for the continued support of our partners at the federal and local level, which allows us to provide our residents with the affordable, accessible and reliable transportation they deserve." 

This spring, CTA is beginning “Stage A”, the first of two stages of construction, which begins with the demolition of a 100-year old track structure between Red Line Lawrence to Bryn Mawr. CTA’s contractor, Walsh-Fluor, will rebuild the northbound Red and Purple Line track structures (the two easternmost tracks) into a new and modern track structure to meet today’s needs of the Red Line, the busiest line in the CTA system. Stage A will be completed in late 2022, and then Stage B will begin and include reconstruction of the southbound Red and Purple Line tracks and the four new stations. 

“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,” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “The benefits of this project extend beyond riders of the Red Line to Chicago’s neighborhoods and small businesses across the city through training, job and contract opportunities that will be a model for future CTA projects like the Red Line Extension.”  

The work accomplished in RPM Phase One will make smoother, more comfortable trips for CTA customers with improved service and modern station houses that are fully accessible to people with disabilities. All RPM Phase One work will be completed in 2025, with the new stations expected to open by the end of 2024.  

“It was nearly a decade ago when I helped create the Federal Transit Administration’s Core Capacity program to assist transit systems like the CTA in making the needed upgrades to aging infrastructure,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “I have secured more than $1 billion in federal funding for the CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization program and I will continue to work with the Congressional Delegation to bring home the federal investments needed for the CTA to serve the people of Chicago.” 

The RPM project is already having a positive economic impact and will continue to be an economic engine for development for neighborhoods in the project corridor and throughout the City of Chicago. More than 130 small businesses certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) have been awarded more than $180 million of contract work on RPM. More than 2,000 jobs have been created since 2013 with about 100 construction jobs created annually. In this project and others, CTA has demonstrated its firm commitment to connecting training and career opportunities with a diverse and inclusive workforce.  

“CTA’s Red Purple Modernization, the largest capital investment project in CTA’s history, is an ambitious plan to meet the needs of a changing Chicago. As we emerge from the global pandemic, RPM is poised to not just improve our city’s transit but adapt to the new, post-pandemic world,” said Quigley. “I look forward to working in Congress to support RPM and work with the city to ensure Chicago has the resources it needs for a strong future.” 

“We are excited for this project and the benefits that RPM will bring to our community,” 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman said. “We have seen new businesses, jobs and development planned or occurring because of the reconstruction of the Wilson station three years ago, and know that this investment by CTA in improving transit is also an investment in the economic strength of our community.” 

"This will be a transformative project in our community, which will be used by many generations to come," said 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman. "My team and I will continue to work closely with the CTA to support impacted residents, businesses, and riders during this complex project." 

To support small businesses located in the RPM project area, which includes the communities of Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville, and Lakeview East, CTA has launched its Open for Business program, which includes a dedicated small business website, posters and banners and social media promotion of individual businesses. 

RPM Phase One Overview   

RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:  

  • Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is a century old.   
  • New Red-Purple Bypass construction (expected completion in 2021); followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion by the end of 2024).   
  • Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability. 

The Red Line and RPM  

The CTA’s Red Line is CTA’s busiest rail line, historically providing more than 67 million rides a year and serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the U.S. 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 will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded.  

Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at transitchicago.com/RPMalerts. 

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