CTA Moves Forward on Transformational Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM)

May 1, 2018

CTA takes next step toward hiring contractor to design and build project’s first phase; agency expects to award contract by end of 2018

Phase One includes four CTA Red Line station reconstructions and new rail bypass, which will improve transit service for the next 60 to 80 years; Major construction to begin in 2019

The Chicago Transit Authority today is taking the next major step in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transformational Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM), the largest CTA project in the agency’s history that will significantly modernize, improve and increase rail service in Chicago for decades to come.

The CTA is moving to the next stage in its selection of a contractor to design and build the $2.1 billion first phase of RPM. Today, the agency issued its Final Request for Proposals to three contracting teams pre-selected by CTA in 2017 that demonstrated the ability to design and build RPM Phase One in an earlier Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process begun last year.

Phase One of RPM includes:

  • Reconstructing four of the oldest Red Line stations (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr), making them fully accessible to people with disabilities, and completely reconstructing 1.3 miles of adjacent track structure.
  • Constructing a rail bypass north of the CTA Belmont station to unclog a 100-year-old junction where Red, Purple and Brown Line trains currently intersect—allowing CTA to significantly increase the number of trains it can run along the Red Line to reduce overcrowding and meet growing demand for transit service.

“We are pleased to be moving closer to building this important project on the Red Line, which is the backbone of Chicago and the CTA’s busiest rail line,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “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.”

The entire RPM plan, to be completed in multiple phases, will rebuild part of CTA’s Red and Purple lines, sections of which are more than a century old. The tracks, structures and stations are well past their useful lifespan, and can no longer handle additional trains to meet the increasing demands of growing ridership – which is up 40 percent during the rush hours since 2008.

The RPM project is among more than $8 billion of transit investment announced, under way or completed by Mayor Emanuel since 2011, including the mayor’s “Red Ahead” program, a series of projects to improve the Red Line.

CTA’s release of the Final RFP to three pre-selected contracting teams -- Walsh Fluor Design-Build Team, Chicago Rail Constructors and Kiewit Infrastructure Company – follows the agency’s issuance of a Draft RFP to the same group in late 2017. Feedback from the teams during the Draft RFP process guided the creation of the Final RFP, which will improve the contractors’ ability to bid on the project and for CTA to ultimately hire the best contracting team for RPM’s first phase.

The contracting teams’ proposals will be considered on a variety of criteria, including experience, price and other factors. CTA expects major construction of this project to begin in the second half of 2019. Earlier this spring CTA began pre-construction work that will continue through the rest of this year and into 2019. Pre-construction work includes property demolition and utility relocation work.

The first phase of RPM is expected to create 5,700 construction jobs. The Final RFP requires significant participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-certified firms.  CTA and the contractors are hosting numerous outreach events to encourage participation by DBE-certified firms and other minority owned firms. Additionally, the project RFP includes a community-based workforce participation component.

For more on this project, visit transitchicago.com/rpmproject.

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