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Wells Street bridge reopens for Brown, Purple CTA trains

Updated: June 7, 2013 6:27AM



With a salmon-pink sky as a backdrop early Monday and trains once again rumbling over the Wells Street Bridge, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool thanked commuters for their patience during work on the decades-old span.

Service on CTA Brown and Purple line trains returned to normal Monday morning after work crews rebuilding the bridge finished a major phase of construction.

“I want to thank both the commuters for their patience and I want to thank the workers — the iron workers and electricians who did this work, incredible work,” Emanuel said, flanked by men and women in hard hats. “People all over the country are still calling, impressed that a 90-year-old bridge was replaced in nine days.”

Both Emanuel and Claypool noted that, thanks to good coordination between agencies, crews have shaved eight days off the project schedule and saved tax payers $500,000.

Sometime around 4:30 a.m. the first CTA trains rolled across the bridge following a nine-day closure, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced.

Repairs on the 91-year-old bridge have caused headaches for commuters since March, when the first of two nine-day closures began. No more major CTA closures are expected as work proceeds on the $41 million project.

While much of the heavy lifting is out of the way, the lower level of the double-decker bridge will remain closed to motorists and pedestrians until November.

The bridge needed structural updates because of salt corrosion and weather-related wear and tear. It also received new electrical and mechanical components.

The affected CTA lines carry an estimated 77,000 commuters per day.

Contributing: Mitch Dudek, Sun-Times News Wire



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