August 12, 2002

The wheels of progress continue to turn for the CTA's $482.6 million Cermak (Douglas) Blue Line Rehabilitation Project. The agency opened a temporary station today to serve customers who normally use the Central Park and Kedzie stations while these stations undergo reconstruction. Customers can access the facility, located between Christiana (3350 West) and Trumbull (3450 West), on either street.

CTA President Frank Kruesi and 28th Ward Alderman Ed Smith officially opened the temporary station, and reviewed the work that has been completed to date.

"The opening of this temporary station means we are one step closer to new, modernized facilities for our customers here in North Lawndale," said President Kruesi, standing next to brand new cement columns that have recently replaced deteriorating steel foundations.

Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett said, "Upon completion, Blue Line customers will reap the benefits of a fully transformed branch that offers faster, smoother rides and accessibility to customers with disabilities."

While the use of the temporary stations during construction may be an inconvenience for customers, it will bring upgraded facilities to the neighborhood more quickly. Providing access to the trains at a separate location allows reconstruction of the original stations to move forward with fewer interruptions.

President Kruesi announced that the Blue Line Rehabilitation project ? which began last Summer ? is proceeding on time and on budget. To date, close to 500 caissons, or foundations for the support columns, have been completed, and 401 columns have been poured. Other completed work includes the replacement of 173 pair of spans of steel elevated structure and more than 90 percent of the foundation for the new 54th/Cermak station.

The completed stations will have elevators and other amenities to make them fully accessible to customers with disabilities. In addition, platform canopies and windbreaks with overhead heaters will protect customers waiting for trains in inclement weather. There will be customer assistant kiosks and seats for customers waiting for buses. Additional entrances on the east side of the Central Park and Kedzie stations will allow customers with fare cards to enter the stations through reversible high-barrier gates.

Because the existing Kedzie station is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the CTA will restore the original canopies and station house facades and incorporate them into the new Kedzie station.

On an average weekday, the Central Park station serves 419 customers and the Kedzie station serves 387 customers.

Overall, the Blue Line is the CTA's second busiest rail line, averaging 117,457 passengers per weekday in 2002 (January through June). The Cermak (Douglas) Branch provides an average of 9,066 rides on a weekly basis.

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