Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday announced plans for a
$492 million revamp of the CTA's Blue Line O'Hare Branch.
The four-year project, called Your New Blue, is expected to kick off in 2014 and will include improvements along the line, resulting in a commute that's 10 minutes faster from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago.
construction, the stretch of the Blue Line O'Hare Branch will not completely shut
down, but some stations may be closed temporarily, and shuttle buses will be provided so commuters can get to an operational station. Track work is expected to occur overnight and on the weekends. According to CTA spokesman Brian Steele, the impact on transit riders will be more “sporadic” than the recent five-month closure of the Red Line South during its reconstruction.
on Blue Line commuters will be nothing like Red Line South, because the
projects are completely different,” Steele told the Chicago Sun-Times.
But Steele added that, “Because we don’t yet have specific construction
schedules for the individual projects, we don’t know what the specific
impacts will be until we’re closer to the project start.”
track and station improvement projects will occur along the 12.5-mile
stretch of the Blue Line O’Hare Branch between the Grand and Cumberland
stations. The signal system will also be upgraded between the Jefferson
Park and O’Hare stations. Improvement work is expected to occur first at
the Damen, Western and California stations, reports the Sun-Times.
say ridership on the O’Hare Branch is growing rapidly and has outpaced
the growth of the overall CTA rail system. According to a news release,
the branch has seen weekday ridership spike by 25 percent over the past
five years and 33 percent within the past 10 years.
Local, state and federal sources are expected to help fund the project. Some $86 million for the project will come from the governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. Officials say more than 1,300 jobs are expected to be created through the construction plan.
Here are some of the planned improvements, according to a news release:
Extensive station renovations at the Grand, Chicago, Division, Damen, California, Logan Square and Jefferson Park stations.
Concrete platform repairs and installation of a new elevator at the Addison station to make it ADA accessible.
Repairs at the Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem and Cumberland stations.
Track improvements to eliminate slow zones in the Dearborn Subway (Grand to Division) and Milwaukee Subway (Damen to Belmont).
Track signal improvements between O’Hare and Jefferson Park, which will improve speed of travel.
Traction power upgrades to improve service and reliability.
Installation of new water management systems and repairs to ensure dry and clean subway stations.
track improvements near the O’Hare station and in the Rosemont rail
yard to help reduce delays and provide for more efficient operations.
of wireless infrastructure in the subway tunnels to provide customers
and workers with faster and more reliable voice, data and web service in
the subway. Current infrastructure was built in 2005 and is inadequate