First, New Accessible Stations Opening Ahead of Schedule
Chicago Transit Authority officials today announced the Kedzie and Rockwell stations on the Brown Line will reopen to rail service at 4:45 a.m. on Wednesday, August 16. Construction work at the stations will continue, however the majority of the work ? including accessibility to customers with disabilities ? has been completed allowing for customers to return to their regular stations.
?We are pleased to announce Kedzie and Rockwell stations
will re-open on August 16, two days earlier than originally planned," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?We appreciate our customers? patience during the temporary closures and will continue to work to keep inconveniences to a minimum while completing construction at these stations."
A major portion of the reconstruction has been completed at Kedzie and Rockwell including new glass station houses, new platforms, brighter lighting and accessible features including ramps, tactile edging and accessible gates. A new auxiliary entrance (formerly an exit only) at the west end of the Kedzie station at Spaulding Avenue has also been completed.
Construction crews will continue to work in the weeks ahead to complete construction even after the stations open for service. These finishing touches include permanent station signs, a compass rose to help customers more easily navigate the system, and new fencing along the alley.
Opening the Kedzie and Rockwell stations brings the total number of accessible CTA rail stations to 74 out of 144 or
51 percent. Providing station enhancements in accordance with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is just one important aspect of the project, which also includes building longer platforms to accommodate eight-car trains instead of the six-car trains currently in use.
The stations temporarily closed on February 20 to allow construction crews unlimited access as part of the $530 million Brown Line Capacity Expansion project designed to relieve congestion, provide for future growth by increasing capacity and improve service delivery, customer comfort and safety. The expansion project includes the rehabilitation of 18 Brown Line stations and upgrading or replacing traction power, signal and communication equipment.
During the temporary closures of the Kedzie and Rockwell stations, rail customers have been able to board at adjacent stations and have had access to 10 existing CTA bus routes to meet their transit needs. A free bus shuttle also was provided on the select weekends when the Kimball and Francisco stations were closed in order to allow construction crews to demolish the old stations and foundations and install the new foundations at Kedzie and Rockwell stations.
Thirteen other stations on the line are subject to temporary closure at different points during construction. Work will be scheduled so that no two consecutive stations are closed at the same time on weekdays. Temporary closures are necessary in order to have the type of access needed to extend platforms, make stations accessible, stay within budget and keep the project on schedule.
?We fully appreciate that the temporary station closures cause inconveniences for our customers, and we appreciate their patience as we work to improve service along the Brown
Line," said Kruesi. ?As this project continues to move forward we will continue to work with neighbors and elected officials to address potential issues and keep things moving in the right direction."
Construction work will soon be underway at the Francisco and Kimball stations and plans are for those stations to be temporarily closed this fall for a period of up to six months ? much the same way as the Kedzie and Rockwell stations have been. CTA will provide advance notice and alternative service options for customers as that schedule is solidified.
In September 2005, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $19.9 million contract for FHP Tectonics to reconstruct stations at Kimball, Kedzie, Francisco, Rockwell and Western. Work is scheduled to begin on the Francisco and Kimball stations later this year. The Board also approved a $45.5 million contract for the Chicago, Armitage and Sedgwick stations at its September meeting. In June 2005, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $94.3 million contract for the reconstruction of the Belmont and Fullerton stations; and a $58.4 million contract was approved for the Addison, Damen, Montrose and Irving Park station by the Board in July 2006.
Operating between downtown and the Northwest Side, the Brown Line was originally constructed in two phases, opening for service in 1900 and 1907. The line is the third busiest of CTA's rail lines, serving more than 66,000 customers each weekday, with 19 stations from Kimball on the north to the downtown Chicago Loop. # # #