JV partners start work on $2.1 billion CTA Red and Purple Modernization Phase One Project

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The Fluor/Walsh joint venture team began reconstruction to straighten the North Main bend on Jan. 24 on the Red & Purple Line Modernization project for CTA in Chicago. (Photo: Business Wire)

Joint venture partners Fluor Corporation and Walsh Construction Company broke ground on Jan. 25 to rebuild and straighten a section of Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) North Main Line Red and Purple Line track structure, a portion of track on the historic Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project that has been slowing traffic for more than a century.

The capital cost of the Phase One project, including state of good repair elements, is estimated to be $2.131 billion in year-of-expenditure (YOE) dollars, documentation from the federal Department of Transportation says.

When the North Main line was constructed more than 100 years ago, the tracks were built around the Vautravers building, a historic greystone built in 1894, creating a curve in the tracks that slowed train speeds for millions of riders over the years, Flour said in a statement.

“In late 2021, the joint venture raised and moved the entire building about 30 feet so the tracks could be straightened, thereby marking a significant step in major revitalizations to the CTA’s rail system. When completed, the new track will be able to accommodate more trains and passengers per hour and allow for increased train speeds.”

“As was shown with the recent passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, existing American infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and upgraded, not just repaired,” said Thomas Nilsson, president of Fluor’s Infrastructure business. “That is exactly what our team is doing with the RPM project. Design-Build solutions will be an ideal project delivery method going forward. We are working collaboratively with CTA to make sure that the Red and Purple lines remain in operation while at the same time making this vital upgrade that will improve safety, operations and speed up service across the entire transit system.”

Along with removing the curve in the tracks, the joint venture will build a new closed-deck track structure with sound walls on the North Main line that is expected to reduce train noise for residents and pedestrians in the neighborhood, which includes Wrigley Field. The new elevated tracks will create a brighter, cleaner, safer pedestrian environment at street level.

As part of the RPM project, the joint venture is also installing a new signal system on 23 track miles that will improve train flow and service reliability.

The RPM Phase One Project is the largest reconstruction in CTA history, modernizing and replacing 100-year-old rail structures and rebuilding four stations. The project will improve access by creating American Disability Act (ADA)-compliant platforms and stations as well as increase capacity, rail reliability and service for riders throughout the entire system.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

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