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Big CTA work this weekend: What to expect

Eroded viaduct at Berwyn. Credit: Patrick Barry

It’s going to be a busy weekend for CTA repairs as streets close at Thorndale, Berwyn and Argyle to allow crews to work on the viaducts and tracks. All three stations will remain open to foot traffic, but automobiles will be detoured.

At Berwyn, buses will be rerouted beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, according to a CTA Customer Alert, with the #92, #144, #146 and #151 buses stopping at Sheridan and Berwyn instead.

Thorndale will be closed from 8 a.m. Thursday, July 19 through noon Monday, July 23, according to a notice from Ald. Harry Osterman’s office. It will be closed the following weekend as well.

Argyle will be closed those same hours, Thursday morning through Monday noon, this weekend and next, according to Osterman’s office.

It’s all part of the seven-station North Red Station Interim Improvements project, which has already seen viaduct repairs at Argyle, Thorndale, Morse, and Jarvis, as well as a completed station facelift at Granville.

If the pattern from earlier work holds, the work this weekend will involve removal and replacement of the parapet (edge) of the viaduct where it has been eroded by 90 years of use. Crews cut off the top section of concrete and replace it with pre-cast concrete sections that are attached with reinforcing bar. This provides a firm foundation for later replacement of the rail ties, track and stone ballast.

Much of the east edge of the viaduct south of Berwyn is cracked or broken and has been held up for years by steel sheeting added by CTA crews. At the intersection with Berwyn Avenue, columns are severely eroded, showing exposed and rusted reinforcing steel. Two cracked columns on the west side of the viaduct are held together with steel braces and are likely to be replaced.

New parapet was added on the east side of the viaduct at Thorndale the weekend of June 23. This week, on Wednesday morning, crews were installing temporary guard rails on the Thorndale viaduct. This likely means that crews will be removing and replacing the outside Purple Express track this weekend, when that train isn’t running.

After the parapet work is complete, crews will return to remove loose concrete on the columns and viaduct, recondition any exposed reinforcing bar, and then add “shot-crete,” a form of concrete that is sprayed onto the wall and then shaped and finished.

Keep tabs on the North Red station projects and contribute tips and photos via CTA Station Watch, a crowd-sourced website. Tweet news with hashtags like this — #ThorndaleCTA, #ArgyleCTA etc – and they’ll appear on the site. Or post photos through Facebook.


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