Chicago Transit Board Approves Contractor for the Loop Track Renewal Project

July 15, 2011
Project will renew track and portions of the elevated structure in the Loop
Today, the Chicago Transit Board approved a $33.8 million contract to begin work on the second half of the Loop Track Renewal project, which will involve the replacement of deteriorated track and rail ties along the Wells and Van Buren elevated tracks.  The project will replace track components that were installed in the mid-1980s and prevent the creation of new slow zones along the elevated line.
“Without this funding and work beginning in the near future, we would soon reach the point of needing to implement slow zones in the Loop, which would affect several hundred-thousand customers each day,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “The Loop is the heart of the CTA rail system and delays encountered there create a ripple effect and impact service along all other rail lines.”
“Capital funding helps us make critical repairs to the system, and in this case perform preventative maintenance before a significant issue evolves,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. “We are continuing to seek out the few opportunities there are for state and federal funding. Unfortunately, improving the CTA system for riders is something that will always be in-process, as the needs are many and funding is tight.”
In 2008, the CTA began work on replacing the signaling system within the Loop and also the first half of the Loop Track Renewal project. During this phase of the project, crews replaced approximately 10,000 feet of track and deteriorated ties along the Lake and Wabash stretches of elevated track, resulting in the removal of nearly 600 feet of slow zones in the Loop.
Portions of the Loop elevated system that will undergo renewal work in this next phase of work include the track and structure along Wells and Van Buren streets; the Hubbard Curve, which is located just north of the Merchandise Mart station and the Tower 18 and Tower 12 junctions, which are located at Lake/Wells and Wabash/Van Buren respectively. The project also will include replacement of other rail system components including foot walks, traction power and signal cabling, signal panels, switch machines, and rail lubricators.
Ragnar Benson Construction, LLC was awarded the contract through a competitive bid process. Funding for the Loop Track Renewal project is provided by a state grant through the RTA. Work is expected to begin in late-2011 and be completed in late-2012.  
As construction plans are finalized, CTA will provide customers with detailed information related to any impact on rail service.
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