CTA Selects Your New Blue Contractor for Damen, Western and California station renovations

February 5, 2014

Chicago Transit Board also approves contracts with three artists for new station artwork as part of CTA’s Your New Blue program

The Chicago Transit Board today approved the award of a $25.6 million design/build contract for the rehabilitation of the Damen, Western and California stations as part of the Your New Blue project to improve and upgrade the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line. The Board also approved contracts for artists to develop unique artwork for each station that reflects the neighboring community and will beautify the stations for customers’ enjoyment.

The station work is part of the $492 million Your New Blue plan announced in December by Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn – the largest comprehensive investment for the Blue Line since it was extended to O’Hare in 1984. Part of Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program to improve and modernize infrastructure, the project includes several track and station improvement projects along a 12.5-mile stretch of the Blue Line O’Hare Branch between the Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O’Hare stations.

F. H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen and Associates, LLC was awarded the station rehabilitation contract following a competitive procurement process. The Damen, Western and California stations were originally constructed nearly 120 years ago and have undergone varying degrees of repairs over the years. Improvements will include exterior stationhouse restoration such as painting, tuck-pointing, replacement of windows and doors, sidewalk repairs and platform repairs or replacement.

“These will be the first of several projects over the next four years to bring improved stations and faster, smoother commutes to the more than 25 million riders who use the O’Hare branch each year,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

After reviewing 100 responses to a Call for Artists issued in December for artistic merit and related qualifications, the CTA will award contracts to the following artists to create public art:

  • Western: Edra Soto & Dan Sullivan (Chicago)
  • California: Patrick McGee (Chicago)
  • Damen: Benjamin Ball/Gaston Nogues (Los Angeles, CA)


The CTA this spring will host public meetings to gather community input into the artwork designs. Renderings of the proposed artwork will be made public later this year.

Federal Formula Funds provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be used to pay for the total art budget for the three stations, which is not to exceed $480,000, and includes costs associated with artist fees, fabrication, shipping/delivery, administrative fees and a project contingency fund.

Funding for Your New Blue is a combination of local, state and federal sources. The first projects of the four-year plan are expected to get under way in 2014. Project schedules are still being finalized, but the project is expected to begin with track work, following by station renovations, power upgrades and then signal improvements.

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