Stony Island Avenue will be closed at the intersection with the Metra Electric South Chicago Branch Line tracks at 71st Street from June 22 to June 29 while Metra crews replace all the components of the railroad crossing.
Traffic will be detoured and there will be operational changes to trains during the work, which is needed because the old components are worn and the crossing for cars and trains is in poor shape. Replacing a crossing as large as this one would normally take two weeks, but because Stony Island is a major Chicago thoroughfare Metra has accelerated the schedule to minimize the impact on traffic, residents and businesses in the area.
“Metra understands the impact of closing such a busy Chicago street, which is why we are working to complete the work as quickly as possible,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “We would like to thank motorists and the community in advance for their patience and understanding during the work, which will result in a much smoother crossing for motorists and our customers.”
The crossing will close at midnight on June 22 and reopen before the morning rush hour on June 29. Southbound traffic will be detoured west on Midway Plaisance, south on Cottage Grove, southeast on South Chicago Avenue and then south again on Stony Island. Northbound traffic will follow the same detour in reverse. The CTA’s No. 28 Stony Island and No. 71 71st/South Shore buses will use a more localized reroute.
Due to construction, there will be several operational changes on the Metra Electric Line. During the work, customers on the South Chicago Branch may see delays of up to 10 minutes. In addition, on Saturday, June 24, the following changes will occur: Trains 327 (which leaves Millennium at 3:10 p.m.) and 339 (which leaves Millennium at 6 p.m.) will not operate. Trains 227 (which leaves Millennium at 3:05 p.m.) and 239 (which leaves Millennium at 5:51 p.m.) will make all stops to 63rd Street. Train 335 (which leaves Millennium at 5 p.m.) will operate only to 63rd Street, and Train 336 will originate at 63rd Street at 6:11 p.m. instead of South Chicago (93rd Street).
The project, which is estimated to cost $1 million to $1.2 million, will include the removal and replacement of rails, ties, ballast, rubber panels and asphalt. The crossing has not been renewed for about 20 years and is well beyond its useful life.