Article updated: 5/27/2013 7:25 AM

Trains, lanes and teams under construction as city series begins

Cubs manager Dale Sveum, left, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura chat prior to one of last year's clashes between the two teams at U.S. Cellular Field.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum, left, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura chat prior to one of last year's clashes between the two teams at U.S. Cellular Field.

 

Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

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Summer roadwork, street fairs, the usual traffic jams and even an elevated train shutdown could make traffic especially bothersome for suburban baseball fans attending this week's annual Crosstown Cup series between the Cubs and the White Sox.

Fittingly, both teams also are in reconstruction mode.

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The White Sox are still retooling since the 2005 World Series championship, when the team payroll was just a shade above $75 million. The long-suffering Cubs just spent almost $75 million locking up slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo as part of a massive rebuilding plan that began when Teddy Roosevelt was president.

Suburbanites driving to the games could be slowed by various projects involving I-90, I-294, I-55, I-88 and I-355. Fans who take the el to games will face a massive reconstruction project that shuts down the direct Red Line train service between the two ballparks. This could mean that more people will drive to the games today and Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field and Wednesday and Thursday at Wrigley Field.

The Red Line work was scheduled to be done on weekends during the next four years. But the CTA decided to do it all in a condensed five months of full-time work, which saves $75 million and should have service restored in October -- when fans of both teams could be using the el to catch a Crosstown World Series.

Instead, fans of the Sox and Cubs seem resigned to a summer of riding out team reconstruction projects designed only to get the teams a step closer to a World Series. And, unlike the Red Line, the Cubs and Sox don't have the luxury of shutting down for the summer.

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