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Wells Street Bridge Closures Begin Friday

 Renovation of the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River will cause headaches for "L" riders this spring.
Renovation of the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River will cause headaches for "L" riders this spring.
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Getty Images/ Tim Boyle

DOWNTOWN — Construction on the Wells Street Bridge will interrupt "L" service for the first of two nine-day stretches starting Friday night.

Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, crews will be replacing the bridge's movable leaves, rebuilding the "L" junction at Lake and Wells Streets — the city's busiest — and laying new tracks over Hubbard Street, according to the CTA.

Brown Line service will be interrupted in the area through the morning rush on March 11, with trains alternately stopping at Merchandise Mart or traveling underground along State Street on the Red Line tracks.

Bus shuttles will also be available at the Chicago Avenue stop. Purple Line express routes will be halted during construction.

This weekend and next, Pink, Brown and Green Line trains will end their routes outside the Loop, with shuttle buses and a Loop "shuttle train" carrying passengers to existing Loop stops. The Orange and southbound Green Line trains will see some changes in Loop stops, so pay close attention to driver announcements.

The second phase of construction will run from 10 p.m. April 26 through early May 6.

The double-decker movable bridge, in service since 1922, has "outlived its useful life, and is in need of a complete reconstruction," Gabe Klein, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, said earlier this month.

Construction will replace one leaf of the bascule bridge. "Historic elements" including railings and bridge houses will be replaced with replicas that preserve the Wells Street Bridge's 1920s-era look, CTA President Forrest Claypool said on Feb. 11.

The renovations are part of the CTA's $33.8 million Loop Track Renewal project launched in March 2012. Construction is a joint project between the CTA and the Chicago Department of Transportation, a collaboration that saves $500,000 in construction coordination costs, according to the transit agency.

For more information on service interruptions, visit the CTA's Wells Street Bridge construction guide page.