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Viaduct Replacement To Close Part Of Purple Line This Weekend

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) -- Major repair work on CTA bridges is going to halt service on a stretch of the Purple Line in Evanston over the weekend.

CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports workers will begin replacing viaducts at Greenleaf Street this weekend, and at Dempster Street later this month, because of crumbling concrete and exposed metal on the bridges.

While crews work on the Greenleaf viaduct, shuttle buses will replace train service between the Howard and Davis stops on the Purple Line from 8:30 p.m. on Friday through 4 a.m. on Monday. Similar shuttle bus service will be used the weekend of June 22, when crews work on the Dempster Street viaduct.

Construction crews were putting the final touches on the shiny new steel bridges that will replace the two crumbling viaducts on the Purple Line in Evanston.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) said, "Every time I pass under there, on foot or in my car, I wonder if they're still gonna be standing when I'm on the way back home."

The Greenleaf Street bridge will be replaced this weekend, forcing the closure of Greenleaf west of Chicago Avenue, until the new bridge is completed.

Then, in two weeks, the new Dempster Street bridge will be rolled into position.

Both replacements are sorely needed.

At the Dempster viaduct, passersby can see the crumbling concrete and exposed rebar. Temporary steel beams have been helping prop up the century-old bridge.

Dawn Okamoto, owner of Secret Treasures – an antique shop down the street – said, "We are in our 19th year here, and from the first day we moved in here, we were told the CTA was going to address this project."

The repairs were promised, and the money was allocated ten years ago. However, after one Purple Line bridge was replaced, Chicago re-directed – others would say "stole" – the rest of the cash for CTA improvements in the South Loop.

Schoenberg worked for years to get the money restored.

"It's going to make a tremendous impact on the quality of life in Evanston, and in the surrounding communities, by finally having the CTA make good on this commitment," Schoenberg said.

The new Greenleaf bridge will be rolled into place around noon on Saturday. Observers are invited to watch in person, and the process will be streamed live on the city of Evanston's website.

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