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Bigger stationhouses, but more street closures, too

This column at Argyle can be reconstructed. Others are so eroded that they must be replaced. (Photo by Patrick Barry)

There was good news and bad on Monday night as CTA officials and 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman shared more details of the Red North station projects at a community meeting at Goudy School.

Extensive deterioration of viaducts and columns means that the work will continue longer than planned, with extended street closures not only at the stations but on other east-west streets that need viaduct repairs. The work will require major retail streets like Argyle and Berwyn to be completely closed to traffic from Thursday morning to Monday morning during the station rehabs, which will discourage retail customers from shopping. Single-lane closures will also be needed after the stations reopen.

The owner of Viet Hoa grocery store, 1051 W. Argyle, said his business was down 40 percent last weekend, when cranes, dumpsters and construction equipment clogged the street from Broadway to Winthrop. Many Asian businesses along Argyle attract suburban and even out-of-state customers each weekend, when the street closings occur.

Ald. Osterman said that he was working with the Chicago Department of Transportation, business associations and individual business owners to improve access to the local businesses, promote them with signage (“Open on Argyle”) and create additional parking nearby.

The CTA released a detailed list of dates and times for street closures at Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence. There will also be lane or street closures on Granville, Glenlake and Rosemont to allow viaduct repairs.

The good news was that the North Red corridor is getting more investment than planned, with $15 million added for slow zone elimination on top of the original $86 million project at seven stations. Also Monday, Ald. Osterman and CTA officials confirmed that Bryn Mawr would receive a short-term “deep cleaning” right now, and in about two years, a major rebuild worth $25 million or more.

Other news Monday:

• The Berwyn, Thorndale and Argyle stations will all receive a “full treatment” rehab similar to the one at Morse, including concrete platform, glazed brick walls, terrazzo floor, lighting, security cameras, audio system and stainless steel fixtures.

• Those three stations will also be extended into adjacent storefronts to provide more room for passengers, as was done at Morse. The Lawrence station, which has a chain-link enclosure at ground level rather than a stationhouse, will receive more modest improvements.

• Viaduct work at Argyle will include complete removal and replacement of at least three columns because they are too deteriorated for repair. This requires extensive shoring to hold up the viaduct and will cause single-lane closures of the street from October 4 to December 28.

• The North Red stations are being wired for Train Tracker monitors in the stationhouses and at track level. CTA’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Carole Morey, said fiber optic cable and electrical circuits are being installed as part of the station rehabs. The color monitors, like those now in use at Belmont and Fullerton, will be installed next spring.

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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