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Barge delivers section of Wells Street bridge

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Updated: March 25, 2013 6:56AM

A barge carrying a newly fabricated, half-million-pound section of the Wells Street bridge downtown from its South Side construction site was delayed for a few hours Saturday by a locked bridge along its route.

And that caused delays on two CTA L trains — one each on the Green Line and the Pink Line — as the Lake Street bridge over the Chicago River had to be raised when the barge finally came through after 2 p.m., CTA spokesman Steve Mayberry said.

The 48-foot-wide bridge section began its journey up the Chicago River from Loomis Street, guided by tugboats, at 7 a.m.

The new section was expected to arrive at a Wells Street bridge staging area at 11 a.m. but was delayed because of a locking issue with the Congress Parkway bridge, according to Pete Scales, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Around 12:40 p.m., the problem was fixed, and the barge was expected to be moving to its destination.

This new section will replace most of the south half of the historic downtown bridge. It will be installed over a nine-day period from March 1 through March 10. Then, the north section of the bridge will be reconstructed April 26 through May 5.

The bridge work will disrupt L service. So while it’s being done, the CTA plans to do track-replacement work at the curve in the L tracks over Hubbard Street between Wells and Franklin Street and to rebuild the L junction at Lake and Wells streets, known inside the transit agency as Tower 18.

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