Eyes on the Street: The Belmont Flyover seems to be coming along nicely

The flyover, looking south from Clark and Roscoe streets. Photo: John Greenfield
The flyover, looking south from Clark and Roscoe streets. Photo: John Greenfield

The CTA appears to have recently made major progress on Belmont Flyover, officially called the Red-Purple Bypass, which will unclog the junction of the Red, Brown, and Purple lines in Lakeview as part of the massive $2 billion Red and Purple Modernization project. The flyover work, which started in 2019, is scheduled to wrap up this year. It will be followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple track structure between the Belmont stop and roughly Cornelia Avenue, a block north.

The new track for the flyover gains elevation as it heads north from the Belmont station. Photo: John Greenfield
The new track for the flyover gains elevation as it heads north from the Belmont station. Photo: John Greenfield

Last month there were two weekend service disruptions on the Red Line between Belmont and Addison so that contractors could install structural supports for the flyover, which will serve northbound Brown trains. RPM project contractor Walsh-Fluor has been doing the following work:

  • Placing the straddle bent that connects the columns on either side of the Belmont Flyover tracks
  • Installing steel girders that form the backbone of the Red-Purple Bypass
A train passes under the
A train passes under the straddle bent, looking north near Roscoe and Clark. Photo: John Greenfield

The CTA says the Belmont Flyover will improve reliability on the three lines, improve speeds, reduce crowding, allow the agency to run more trains during rush hours. The bypass replaces the Belmont rail junction, which was built in 1907 and carried about 150,000 rides each weekday prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the transit system has seen a massive ridership drop. Here are the upcoming benefits of the flyover, according to the transit agency.

The track bends west at Roscoe, heading into the alley north of Roscoe. Photo: John Greenfield
The new track bends west at Roscoe, heading into the alley north of Roscoe. Photo: John Greenfield
  • The addition of up to eight more Red Line trains per hour during rush periods
  • Accommodating up to 7,200 additional customers per hour during rush hour
The new track section enters the alley north of Roscoe. Photo: John Greenfield
The new track section enters the alley north of Roscoe, looking west from Sheffield Avenue. Photo: John Greenfield
  • Increased Red and Purple line train speeds by 60 percent through this intersection
  • Customers are saved a half-million travel hours each year
The end of the new section of track, as seen from the first north-south alley west of Clark Street. Photo: John Greenfield
The end of the new section of track, as seen from the first north-south alley west of Sheffield, looking east. Photo: John Greenfield

In addition to the flyover, Phase One of RPM also includes rebuilding the century-old rail structure between the Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations and rebuilding four stations on that stretch to make them wheelchair accessible. This work is expected to start this year. We’ll have a critique of the recently-released station designed later this week.

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CTA: Belmont Bypass Necessary to Accommodate Current and Future Riders

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The Chicago Transit Authority published on Tuesday its federally mandated environmental assessment for the Red-Purple Bypass project, better known as the Belmont flyover. The bypass is part of the Red-Purple Modernization project, which will rebuild all of the tracks from Belmont to Linden station in Wilmette, and reconstruct several stations to add elevators and other amenities. This bypass would […]