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Wells Street Bridge to be closed for a year

(Flickr/Seth Anderson)

Starting Monday November 5, the Wells Street Bridge will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians for a year, as the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) works to reconstruct it.

CTA trains will still use the bridge, excluding "two nine-day service interruptions next spring, when the CTA will also rebuild the Loop ‘L’ junction at Lake and Wells Streets, known as Tower 18," said the City of Chicago. These interruptions are scheduled for March and late April of 2013.

The historic parts of the bridge, including the railings and bridge houses, will be replaced but will remain period; the bridge was originally built in 1922. But all trusses and steel framing for the lower level road and upper level railway structures will be replaced, as will the mechnical and electrical parts.

Traffic will be rerouted to LaSalle and Clark Street bridges; the #11 and #125 buses will reroute to take Kinzie, LaSalle and Wacker, eventually routing ending back to Wells.

During the complete closure periods, on weekdays, Brown Line trains will either end at Merchandise Mart or keep going to the State Street subway. Bus shuttles will also be used.

According to CDOT, on the weekdays, almost 700 trains pass through the Tower 18 junction on a weekday, with almost 500 on the weekends. CTA President Forrest Claypool said the work on Tower 18 was originally scheduled to take place during the continued Loop Track renewal project, but combining it with the Wells Bridge repairs will save the city $500,000 in construction costs.

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