Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Senator Jeff Schoenberg, former mayor Joan Barr Smith, Alderman Jane Grover, former alderman Gene Feldman and Alderman Melissa Wynne.Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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The $10.3 million project to replace two century-old viaducts at Grove and Dempster streets, in addition to the one finished earlier in the month at Greenleaf Street, was completed two weeks ago.
CTA President Forrest Claypool said the project required a modern approach – a new way of doing business. The technology allowed for the 400,000-pound bridges to be assembled and rolled into place, the final product coming together all within one weekend.
“This way saves time and money to provide service faster,” he said.
Describing these locations as “slow zones” where trains had to come to a halt, Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg emphasized the safety urgency for this project.
“I’d pass through wondering will they still be there on my way home,” he said. “I wanted to ensure they remain standing.”
City officials praised Mr. Claypool and Sen. Schoenberg for their persistent commitment – to both funding and structural organization for the new improvements.
“I love working with you [two] because I get what I want,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.
Discussion about the new viaducts began more than 15 years ago, when the CTA announced there was money for the project. Many of the funds were then redistributed to the South Loop, said Sen. Schoenberg, putting the Evanston viaducts on hold.
Ald. Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, recalled numerous conversations with her father, a former U.S. Navy civil engineer, in which he consistently asked, “What have you done about the viaducts this week?”
“People often think their cities cannot get things done,” Ald. Wynne said. But through determined lobbyists, cooperative businesses and productive workers, this project represents the effective collaboration of the CTA and the City of Evanston.
“This is a wonderful demonstration that shows we can get something done,” Ald. Wynne said. “The message it sends is that we can get infrastructure built.”