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CTA begins third phase of major upgrade to Purple Line

Commuters wait for a Chicago-bound train at the Davis Street CTA station in April. Earlier this year, the CTA began its first major upgrade to the Purple Line in nearly four decades.

Daily file photo by Skylar Zhang

Commuters wait for a Chicago-bound train at the Davis Street CTA station in April. Earlier this year, the CTA began its first major upgrade to the Purple Line in nearly four decades.

Amanda Gilbert, Summer Reporter

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The Chicago Transit Authority this month entered the third phase of its first major construction on the Purple Line in nearly 40 years.

The $2 million project involves replacing over 6,000 aging and deteriorated rail ties with new, longer steel bridge spans, according to the CTA. Some sections of the track are more than 100 years old.

“It will help increase commute speeds and improve service reliability for customers,” CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said.

The project is expected to decrease travel time by eliminating slow zones on the route.

The renovated section of the Purple Line will also see new sidewalks, fencing and landscaping.

The CTA began the project earlier this year near its South Boulevard station and has moved north since then. The latest phase covers the track between Lee and Church streets.

Hosinski said the project will improve the Purple Line’s reliability until funding is secured for a new Red Purple Modernization project. RPM is a part of a CTA program to maintain and modernize its El system.

Other construction ideas are under consideration for the next RPM project, such as widening platforms or eliminating stops.

The CTA recently changed its construction method so that most of the work on the Purple Line will be done earlier on weekday evenings.

Evanston resident Olga Jasinsky said she relies on the Purple Line to get to work every day.

“It’s been a little challenging getting to work with the construction,” Jasinsky said. “But I’m glad they are making sure the train will work safely and quickly.”

Construction is expected to be completed in November.

Summer reporter Amanda Gilbert can be reached at amandagilbert2015@u.northwestern.edu. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/amandadance5.

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