By Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune reporter
Sixteen buildings will need to be razed to make way for elevated bypass tracks that will separate three CTA rail lines on the North Side — the Red, Brown and Purple — and speed up train trips through one of the worst bottlenecks in the system, transit officials said today.
The construction planned for the Clark junction, a busy rail intersection north of the Belmont station built in 1907, is part of the $1.7 billion first phase to modernize the Red and Purple Lines, officials said.
The entire modernization project, running from north of Belmont through Evanston to the Purple Line Linden station in Wilmette, is projected to cost $4.7 billion, officials said.
Work on the bypass is expected to begin no earlier than 2017 – on the same schedule as a track renewal and station replacement project that was announced Wednesday and will focus on four stations, at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr.