Metra officials held a community meeting on March 29 to present construction plans for the upcoming rail construction on the Union Pacific North Metra line, slated to begin this month.
Though billed as a public forum, Metra officials did not address the crowd in an organized meeting. Officials mingled with the crowds and answered questions one-on-one. About 100 community members turned out to review the plans.
Metra officials put up posters to display construction plans at intervals along the line. Each poster has been attached below. Check each one to find out changes to Ravenswood Avenue parking and traffic and other information.
There are 22 100-year-old bridges on the northern line that will be replaced, from Balmoral on the north to Grace at the south. The full construction project is expected to cost about $215 million.
Officials said in order to maintain the usual Metra schedule, two tracks will remain in operation during construction, adding $42.4 million to the cost of the project.
“When we tried the single-track operation last summer, it was obvious it wasn’t working,” Metra spokesman Michael Gillis told Center Square Journal last month.
Plans for the new Metra station platform are also presented below. The new platforms will stretch from the current 400 feet to 750 feet.
The station will have ticket booths, warming shelters and vendor space. The ramps and stairs will be upgraded, and lighting and landscaping will be added.
A temporary platform is already in place for inbound riders, and a new temporary platform will be added for outbound riders.
There are no plans to change traffic patterns on Lawrence Avenue or build a pedestrian bridge across it, despite pedestrians’ safety concerns.
During construction along Ravenswood Avenue, parking will be lost temporarily on each block, as the construction moves along the line.
Berta Navarro, owner of Cafe 28 on Ravenswood Avenue near Irving Park Road, told Center Square Journal she is concerned about how the construction will affect their business. But she said the restaurant has survived the closing of the Brown Line and extensive construction on Irving Park Road, so they’ll make it work.