After a year, the Wells Street bridge has reopened:
Just before 6:15 a.m., construction workers in reflective vests and hard hats dragged orange traffic barrels to the sidewalk, clearing the traffic lanes for the first time since last November.
Moments later, the first person crossed the bridge: Bike messenger Lionel Floyd. He pedaled south and appeared surprised to see a crowd of reporters waiting for him at Wacker Drive.
The $50 million reconstruction was aimed at extending the lifespan of the while maintaining its classic appearance. With the exception of two planned closures in this spring, CTA train service continued during the project.
Chicago infrastructure projects keep moving ahead. Last week Tribune transportation correspondent Jon Hilkevitch reported the Federal government may provide more funding for a $4 bn project to fix the north-side El:
That doesn't guarantee funding under the "new starts" grant program, but the transit administration allowed the CTA to apply because the Red-Purple Modernization project will add much-needed capacity and deliver more reliable service to the most heavily traveled CTA rail line, officials said.
The project will involve rebuilding the Red and Purple Line tracks, replacing stations and overhauling viaducts and the elevated embankment from north of Belmont through Evanston.
Various options and designs are under consideration and would cost between roughly $2 billion to more than $4 billion to engineer and construct, officials said.
The project is still in the planning phase.