Wells Street Bridge shutdown begins Friday night - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Wells Street Bridge shutdown begins Friday night

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Brace yourself, L riders.

Nine days of disruption begins Friday for CTA rail line riders heading into Chicago's Loop.

Both decks of the 90-year-old double-decker Wells Street bridge will be shut down from 10 p.m. Friday until the morning rush May 6, affecting Brown and Purple Line riders heading downtown.

Plus, two consecutive weekends of work on the system's busiest rail junction — at Lake and Wells — will begin Saturday. Those affected: Brown, Green, Pink and Orange line passengers.

Throughout the nine days, rail riders will be unable to use the top deck of the Wells Street Bridge to make the usual 77,000 one-way trips a day over the Chicago River. They will join pedestrians and drivers who have been detoured by the closure of bridge's street-level deck since Nov. 5.

The CTA is warning commuters to get ready for crowded train cars and less frequent service.

The upcoming closure is the final scheduled closure of the bridge for replacement work. The previous closure occurred in March.

During the week, the inbound Purple Line will be suspended past Howard Street Station. For North Side Brown Line users riding during peak hours, one of every three inbound trains will end at the Merchandise Mart. Two of three will switch over to Red Line tracks after Fullerton and make Red Line stops, but only until Roosevelt.

Weekend rerouting is even more mind-numbing, because it affects four different train lines that will be disrupted by the additional replacement of tracks in the curve at Hubbard and Kinzie.

Free shuttle buses – on weekdays and weekends — may ease the pain for some.

The remaining half of the Wells Street bridge that needs replacement will be transported to the work site by being floated down the Chicago River.

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