I got an update today from Metra about the Ravenswood Union Pacific North station, after sending an inquiry last week. Before I get to that, let's take a look at photographic evidence that we've had to use the "temporary" platform north of Lawrence Avenue for just under 12 years now:
That's the Google Street View from July 2011 showing that Metra has already closed the 1950s-era inbound platform (on the left) and opened the "temporary" platform (on the right).
I took these two photos a week ago, but I could have taken them last September with only one minor change (the new "temporary" fence by the entrance to the new platform):
OK, so now that we've established that (a) we haven't had even a semi-permanent inbound platform since the middle of President Obama's first term, and (b) neither Metra nor the UPRR has done any noticeable work on the new new-but-unfinished platform since I last posted news seven months ago, here is what a Metra spokesperson told me this afternoon:
Per our station project Construction Team, a late July 2023 completion is anticipated. There are a few items remaining that need to be addressed to complete the project.
- Structural tiles, which the manufacturer has delayed delivery of. Our Team has 3 other options to address this issue that they are looking into and are actively progressing a tile alternative.
- The waterproofing along the edge of the platform and the bridge abutment (Lawrence & Leland) that requires the removal of track and ballast by Union Pacific Railroad will be scheduled by UP forces. Ballast work could not be performed during winter months when ground is frozen.
- Guardrail fencing change work at Leland Bridge is proceeding through redesign to accommodate a conduit system. Contractor estimates work end of May/early June.
- A solution to the hairline cracks in the platform surface has been determined. A coating to address this issue cannot be applied until weather conditions permit.
- Additional CDOT crossing work required along with the asphalt overlay patching in the street cannot occur until the asphalt plants reopen next month.
With a project of this magnitude that entailed the replacement of 22 bridges on the UPN Line, as well as a complete station project, its impact on the community was/is unavoidable and cannot be understated. Metra is making every attempt possible to improve the dates on the remaining items and complete the work, as soon as possible.
I knew about #3, and previously reported about #1. The rest just frustrates me to no end.
The UPRR and Metra should have completed this project in 2018. I will remind everyone that four years of the delay happened because former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (R) cut funding to everything based solely on his extreme anti-government ideology. (Makes you wonder why he wanted to govern, right?) And once again, I will remind everyone that if I had the power, I would sentence the former governor to stand on the platform for two hours a day, every day, for a duration equal to the entire delay to the project that he caused. Even that sentence seems lenient.
I hope that my contact at Metra has accurate information, because I'm really tired of standing in the rain just 20 meters from what appears to be a perfectly serviceable but inaccessible shelter.