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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on Tuesday issued a final request for proposals (RFP) to three shortlisted contracting teams to design and build the first phase of the Red and Purple modernization program.The three teams are Chicago Rail Constructors, Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and the Walsh Fluor design-build team. CTA selected the three bidders in late 2017.The $2.1 billion first phase calls for reconstructing the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations, the four oldest stops on the Red Line. Additionally, a rail bypass will be built north of the Belmont station to unclog a century-old junction where Red, Purple and Brown line trains intersect."We are well into a comprehensive process to find the most qualified builder to construct this project, which is one of the biggest modernization projects in CTA history," said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. in a press release.This spring, CTA began pre-construction work that will continue through the rest of this year and into 2019. Major construction is slated to begin in the second half of 2019, CTA officials said.To be completed in phases, the entire program calls for rebuilding part of the CTA's Red and Purple lines, including sections that are more than 100 years old. The lines' infrastructure struggle to handle additional trains to meet increasing ridership, according to the agency.Since 2008, rush-hour ridership on the Red and Purple lines is up 40 percent, CTA officials said.In June 2017, the agency issued its initial request for proposals for the Red and Purple line modernization program's first phase. In January of the same year, the CTA secured $1 billion from the Federal Transit Administration for the program's first phase.