March 24, 2004

$282.6 Million Overhaul to Bring Power Boost to CTA Trains South of Loop

Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi and other officials today to kick off the rehabilitation of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line.

The $282.6 million project includes power, signal and communication upgrades and station renovations for more than nine miles of the Red Line from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street.

"The CTA is a lifeline to the people of Chicago, moving them rapidly and inexpensively to jobs, school, shopping and entertainment," Daley said at a ceremony at the 47th Street Station. "This project will make the riding experience more satisfying for tens of thousands of the CTA's customers."

"This project will bring more reliable and efficient rapid transit service to the South Side of the city," said Kruesi. "The construction of two new substations, upgrades to two other substations and the installation of new contact rail will boost power to the branch and enable the CTA to better serve the 45,000 customers who use this branch each day."

"The Red Line rehab project, along with the ongoing rehabilitation of the Cermak branch of the Blue Line and the upcoming Brown Line capacity expansion project, are tangible proof of the CTA's commitment to improve its product and invest in the communities it serves," said Carole Brown, Chicago Transit Board Chairman. "The Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line is a vital connection for neighborhood residents, as well as a key link to south suburban commuters making their way into the city each day. This project will create jobs and boost the entire region's economy."

Improving power reliability and the delivery of that power are the most significant aspects of the project. Since the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line opened in 1969, the CTA has added trains and increased their frequency to keep up with customer demand. In 1969, the Red Line ran six-car trains with rush hour intervals at 5-7 minutes. Today, the Red Line runs eight-car trains with rush hour intervals at 3-5 minutes.

In addition, rail cars originally placed on the line over 30 years ago did not require as much power to operate as today's more modern cars. Improved customer amenities such as upgraded air conditioning systems require more power to operate.

Seven stations along the line, Sox-35th to 87th, will receive upgrades that include new flooring, enhanced lighting, refurbished platform canopies, new customer assistant kiosks and improved signs. Eight escalators along the branch will be replaced and new elevators will be installed at 47th and 69th, making the stations accessible to customers with disabilities.

There also will be enhancements to improve bus connectivity, such as curb cuts, canopies over station entrances and improved lighting on the approach to each station. Last year, as a preliminary phase, the CTA rehabilitated bus bridges at 69th and 95th streets and completed renovations to the stationhouse at Sox-35th.

"Our thanks to Mayor Daley for his leadership and commitment to the CTA, Governor Rod Blagojevich, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Congressional delegation and the Illinois General Assembly for their continued support toward CTA capital improvement," added Kruesi.

For the first time, as part of its construction contract with Kiewit/Reyes, AJV, the CTA has created an economic development component, which includes two provisions to encourage economic development for disadvantaged-business-enterprise (DBE) firms and the affected Red Line community.

A minority financial institution provision has been established to provide a method for reinvestment in the Red Line community and DBE businesses.

Through the arrangement, Kiewit/Reyes will establish an account at Seaway National Bank. The CTA will wire transfer invoice payments directly into the Kiewit/Reyes account at Seaway. Kiewit/Reyes has agreed to retain 10 percent of these invoice payments at Seaway for reinvestment into the community for the life of the contract with CTA.

Seaway National Bank will use the money to provide business loans to DBE firms and other local firms for working capital that will help these businesses and help the CTA by strengthening the pool of DBE firms qualified for CTA procurements.

A mentor-prot?g? program has been established to further the development of DBE firms and assist them to move into non-traditional areas of work and to compete in the marketplace. The MPP will provide the DBE participants with hands-on experience in specific trades or skills. The prime contractor will select, reach an agreement with and mentor one or more DBEs.

The Red Line rehab project will be executed in three phases and is scheduled to be completed in 2006. During the first phase of the project, the CTA will replace track, install a temporary signal system to support existing and upcoming track work, and begin third rail replacement from Cermak Road to 95th Street. This phase of the project is expected to take one year to complete.

Phase II of the construction project is expected to begin in August 2004 and continue through January 2006. During this phase, the CTA will construct two new substations, upgrade two existing substations and demolish one substation. The CTA also will install a permanent signal system and finish replacing the third rail. Station renovations, which will occur in Phase III, are expected to start in August 2005 and conclude in 2006.

The Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line provides rapid transit service to the neighborhoods of Fuller Park, McKinley Park, Brighton Park, Garfield Park, Back of the Yards, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Englewood, Gresham, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing and Roseland among others. The branch also serves as a vital link to the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago State University, Kennedy-King College, Dawson Technical Institute and U.S. Cellular Field.

The Dan Ryan branch provides more than 45,000 rides on an average weekday. In 2003, ridership for the year was 15,770,374. The Dan Ryan branch is part of the CTA's Red Line, the busiest rail line in the CTA rail system totaling 63 million rides in 2003.

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