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Metra on May 10 will open the first half of a new Ravenswood Station along its Union Pacific North Line. The station, which is Metra's fourth-busiest outside of downtown Chicago, is being constructed in stages as part of a major project to replace aging bridges along the Union Pacific North Line in northern Chicago, Metra officials said in a statement yesterday. The most recently completed first half, which is the outbound side, was built in conjunction with the construction of new bridges for outbound tracks over 11 streets between Balmoral Avenue and Grace Street.UP installed new tracks over the new outbound bridges, and this weekend the railroad will perform the necessary final work to put the tracks into operation, Metra officials said."For too long the Ravenswood Station has been far too small for growing ridership demands of this neighborhood," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno in a prepared statement. "We’re glad to be halfway towards giving our riders the station they deserve, and we ask them for just a little more patience and understanding as we move on to the inbound side."Slated to begin in 2016, the project's next phase will include the inbound half of the station, as well as new bridges for the inbound tracks over the same 11 streets. The project is being completed in two stages to keep the tracks in operation, Metra officials said.Once fully completed, the station will feature longer, covered platforms, in addition to warming shelters on both sides, improved lighting, space for a ticket office and a vendor, ramps, stairs and landscaping. The new station will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Metra officials said.The station and bridges projects are being funded with federal, state and local dollars, Metra officials said. The station reconstruction cost $18.3 million, while the bridge replacement project was estimated at $215 million, according to an earlier Metra statement.The cost of the second project includes 11 additional bridges on Chicago's north side. Those remaining 11 bridges, which run over streets between Fullerton Avenue and Addison Street, have not yet been funded, Metra officials said.
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