CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents who live along the route of Metra’s Union Pacific North line will have the chance on March 29 to sound off on revised reconstruction plans.
During the hearing, officials from Metra, the Union Pacific Railroad and the city of Chicago will discuss plans to rebuild the Ravenswood station – the busiest on the line outside of the downtown Ogilvie Transportation Center – along with streetscaping and other improvements.
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The meeting is to take place at 7 p.m. March 29 in the auditorium of the Bethany Retirement Community, at 4950 N. Ashland Av.
Streetscaping is a concern because Metra intends to replace the existing sloped embankment with a retaining wall that is up to five feet taller than the existing embankment. The tracks will be rebuilt in such a way that as many as two additional tracks could be placed on the elevated right-of-way.
Planners say that will require changes along the west side of the embankment, portions of which border on Ravenswood Avenue, which will be completely rebuilt in those areas as a part of the project.
Metra began preparations for the reconstruction project last fall, but chronic inability to maintain schedules forced postponement of the work until this spring.
The commuter rail agency now promises that existing schedules will be maintained and that two tracks will remain in operation throughout the eight-year project.
Maintaining two tracks and rebuilding the embankment will escalate the cost by $40 million — $80 million if a similar retaining wall is built on the other side of the right-of-way to accommodate additional tracks.
The bridges being replaced were built by Union Pacific predecessor Chicago & North Western Ry. in 1898 and are among some of the oldest on the Metra system.