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Wells Street Bridge rehab to start Monday, affect Brown, Purple lines

Updated: December 1, 2012 4:42PM

A yearlong construction project to rebuild the historic Wells Street Bridge begins Monday and will coincide with a CTA project that will re-route the Brown and Purple lines for two nine-day periods in the spring, the city announced on Tuesday.

† Southbound vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Wells will be re-routed to the LaSalle and Clark bridges over the Chicago River.

† Southbound bike traffic will instead cross the river on the Clark Street Bridge.

†The No. 11 and No. 125 buses will be re-routed via Kinzie, LaSalle and Wacker, back to Wells.

Meanwhile, the CTA will use the construction time to rebuild the L structure junction at Lake and Wells, known as Tower 18. That work will require two nine-day closures of the Wells Street Bridge to CTA Brown and Purple line trains, the city’s Department of Transportation said.

Trains will alternate between stopping at the Merchandise Mart and then heading back north, and re-routing at Fullerton and heading underground to the State Street subway, CTA spokeswoman Brian Steele said.

Shuttles will also be circling the Loop during the line cuts to get riders to their next stop.

One closure will happen in early March 2013 and the other in late April. The closures will run from early morning Saturday through early Monday of the following week, the CTA said.

Initially part of the Loop Track renewal project, the CTA says doing the work at the same time as the bridge repair will cut eight days from construction and save $500,000 in construction costs.

Built in 1922, the Wells Street Bridge is in need of a major structural revamp, in part because of corrosion from salt and wear and tear from Chicago’s extreme weather. The city says the bridge’s historic elements, railings, bridge houses and major structural components will be replaced to preserve the “1920s look of the bridge.” The bridge’s mechanical and electrical components will also be replaced.

The city had been planning the work for more than a year but got a $22.5 million boost in state funding earlier this year.

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