Demolition Starts for CTA's Controversial Flyover Project
This week, buildings will start coming down to make room for new track coming into the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Belmont train stop. "The demolition begins more than a year before the city plans to break ground on the flyover, which aims to unclog the bottleneck of Red, Brown and Purple Line trains that flow in and out of the Belmont Avenue station," Mary Wisniewski and Ese Olumhense write in the Chicago Tribune. The Red-Purple Bypass Project was first proposed in 2014, provoking criticism throughout the planning and funding phases.
The new flyover aims to speed traffic through the busy station. "The planned flyover calls for a bypass that would take Brown Line trains above Red and Purple Line trains north of the busy Belmont station. Currently, Brown Line trains have to the cross tracks of other lines before they can proceed north, forcing Red and Purple Line trains to wait," Wisniewski and Olumhense report. The CTA says that extra track would translate to 15 more trains through the station an hour.
Some neighbors complain that the added speed is not enough to justify tearing down 14 buildings or the projects cost. "The CTA has spent $32 million on real estate acquisitions and relocation costs for the bypass, while demolition is expected to cost an additional $3 million," Wisniewski and Olumhense write.