Wells Street Bridge Reopens To Trains, Traffic

Mayor Emanuel says the city saved eight days and $500,000 on the massive project

After nine days of construction, Chicago commuters again can use the Wells Street Bridge.

The bridge reopened Monday morning after it was closed a second time to cars, pedestrians and train traffic. The most recent closure marked the second and final phase of replacing the 91-year-old bridge, a project Mayor Rahm Emanuel called "an engineering feat" for Chicago.

"We saved eight days off the project," Emanuel said Monday, "but most importantly, in addition to the save on time, we also saved the taxpayers $500,000 by doing it in a more efficient, coordinated fashion."

He thanked commuters for their patience and the workers "for their hard work and dedication."

The shut-down was quite an inconvenience for Brown, Purple and Red Line CTA train riders who had to take shuttle buses south of the Chicago River, but city officials say it's worth it in the long run.

The bridge was closed for nine days in March during which crews worked on barges for 12-hour shifts, even during a snowstorm, to replace the first half of the bridge.

The project was mammoth by construction standards, but the CTA said they got it done on time and on budget. The structure as well as CTA train tracks and equipment on the bridge were all replaced.

The entire bridge will be painted the iconic red again sometime this summer.

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