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City Announces 2019 Start Date For Red/Purple Line Modernization

Lawrence Avenue 'L' Station
The Lawrence Avenue 'L' station

Chicago Transit Authority's $2.1B modernization of the Red and Purple Lines will begin in mid-2019. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced CTA will lease a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Lawrence Avenue 'L' station, so the rail agency can stage construction materials. The modernization of the Red Line's north branch, which runs to Howard Street, and the Purple Line, which serves Evanston and Wilmette, is the largest infrastructure project in the agency's history.

The lease runs from June 1, 2019, to May 31, 2027. CTA will pay the city for lost parking revenue during the lease's duration. The lot will be used for construction staging and materials used for a complete rebuild of the Lawrence Avenue station, which originally opened in 1923 as part of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. CTA will upgrade the station to make it ADA accessible, widen platforms, upgrade lighting systems and add modern amenities.

The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations will all be rebuilt as part of the project's first phase, along with the construction of the Belmont Flyover, a bypass north of the Belmont Red/Purple/Brown Line 'L' station intended to reduce delays caused by trains entering and leaving the station.

The Red/Purple Line modernization received a $1.1B grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation last year, one of the last official acts of Barack Obama's presidency. Nearly 1.1 million riders use the Lawrence Avenue station annually.