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Granville Red Line Stop To Close For Major Overhaul

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Get ready for what could be weeks of delays on the CTA Red Line, as closures for station upgrades start this weekend with the Granville stop.

As CBS 2's Kris Habermehl reports, the Chicago Transit Authority will close the Granville 'L' stop in the Edgewater neighborhood at midnight Friday night. The repairs will take about six weeks before the station reopens.

Granville is one of seven stations up for renovations on the Red Line in the Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods. The other stations include Jarvis, Morse, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle, and Lawrence stops.

The stations are all among the oldest in the system. The Granville stop dates from 1908, as do the Morse and Jarvis stations.

In April, CTA President Forrest Claypool agreed that the stations up for renovation are in a shameful state.

"These are literally the worst stations in the system," Claypool said.

A total of $80 million of the $86 million price tag for the Red Line North Station Improvement Project is coming from the federal government.

The work to be done includes waterproofing, viaduct repair, new doors and windows for the stations, and tuckpointing. Work is also planned for the roofs of adjacent station buildings, so that inside concession spaces can be leased and begin to generate revenue for the cash-starved agency.

The waterproofing will cause the delays. It will require CTA crews to take up tracks adjacent to the stations so that a waterproof membrane can be put in place beneath the surface.

The work is expected to be complete at all the stations late this fall or in early 2013. It will not include installation of elevators.

Claypool said in February the current footprint of many of the stations is too narrow to allow for elevators. He said that will be addressed in the full-scale modernization, which is still in its planning stages.

Back at the beginning of last year, the CTA announced plans for that modernization, which would affect the Red and Purple lines north of the Addison stop. No specific plan has been approved yet, but two of the blueprints call for closing three of the stations now being renovated – Jarvis, Thorndale and Lawrence.

These plans also call for eliminating the South Boulevard and Foster stops on the Purple Line, and downgrading Purple Line express and Red Line local service by maintaining three or four tracks.

In place of the shuttered stations, new entrances would be added to other existing stations – including an Ainslie Street entrance at the Argyle stop, a Hollywood Avenue entrance at the Bryn Mawr stop, entrances to the Howard terminal at Rogers Avenue, and an entrance to the Noyes Street Purple Line stop at Evanston's Gaffield Place.

The current concrete ground embankment structure would also be replaced with a new concrete elevated structure, as seen on the Orange Line.

An even more radical plan calls for getting rid of the 'L' structure altogether between the Belmont and Loyola stops, and replacing it with a subway. New subway stations would be located at Addison, Irving Park, Wilson, Foster, Bryn Mawr and Glenlake.

Under that plan, the Argyle, Lawrence, Berwyn, Thorndale and Granville stops would vanish, in some instances without a new entrance in close proximity to replace them. For example, a commuter living on Ainslie Street in the Uptown neighborhood may now walk one block north to the Argyle stop or south to the Lawrence stop. Under the subway plan, the commuter would have to walk two and a half blocks north to Winona Street or three blocks south to Wilson Avenue to catch the Red Line.

The subway plan also calls for the elimination of the Jarvis stop, as well as the South Boulevard and Foster Purple Line stops.

Another scenario would replace the existing four tracks with three tracks, which would eliminate reverse-direction Purple Line Express trains.

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