It’s taken nearly a half century, but two Metra viaducts are scheduled to get fresh paint starting Monday.
Work on the Davis Street viaduct is scheduled to start then and take four to six weeks.
Once work at Davis is completed, the Dempster Street viaduct will be repainted.
During the Davis Street project’s first phase, traffic and bike lanes on the north side of the street will be closed to traffic, followed by lane closures on the south side of the street.
Davis Street will remain open to westbound traffic throughout the project. Each closure will last about two weeks.
Parking spots immediately adjacent to the work area will be blocked off, including parking along Elmwood Avenue.
Passengers using the Davis Street Station should use the Church Street stairs or the station ramps during the work on the north side of Davis.
The work at Dempster Street will initially close westbound lanes. Westbound traffic will be rerouted north at Chicago Avenue to Lake Street, west to Maple Avenue and south to Dempster.
Once the north half of the painting is done Dempster will reopen for westbound traffic, and eastbound traffic will be rerouted north at Maple Avenue to Lake Street, east to Chicago Avenue and then south to Dempster Street.
Each closure is expected to last about two weeks.
The Metra line through Evanston is owned by the Union Pacific and many of the viaducts were last painted in the 1970s, before UP acquired their former owner, the Chicago and North Western Railway.
UP has disclaimed responsibility for the appearance of the viaducts. That eventually led Metra to agree to pick up the tab for the paint job.
Memories of those viaducts in their C&NW paint jobs are still clear – “Route of the 400 Streamliner Fleet”. Up til the advent of Amtrak, there were very classy yellow and green streamliners several times a day from Davis Street Station to Milwaukee, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Ashland, WI and Ishpeming, MI.
During the next presidential campaign, keep in mind when your favorite candidate says “we need to REBUILD our infra-structure and blah blah blah” – as they’ve all been saying for a quarter century – because, we now have real evidence; we finally get that fresh coat of paint on our crumbling viaducts that they’ve promised us. So, go ahead an cheer when they make such promises. They mean what they say. God BLESS America!
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