Starting Monday, February 20, both Kedzie and Rockwell stations on the Brown Line will close for up to six months while construction work to expand capacity on the rail line continues to move forward. Starting Monday, during the weekday, rail customers may go to the next closest station for Brown Line service, or choose from eight neighborhood CTA bus routes to meet their transit service needs.
Rail customers who normally board at the Kedzie station are asked to board either at Kimball station, adjacent to Kedzie, or Francisco station, which is located between Kedzie and Rockwell stations. Rail customers who normally board at Rockwell station are asked to board either at Francisco or Western station. Western station will remain open throughout construction.
Customers in close proximity to the Kedzie station are also served by the following four CTA bus routes: #78 Montrose,
#81 Lawrence, #82 Kimball/Homan and #93 California/Dodge. Customers in close proximity to the Rockwell station are served by the following six CTA bus routes: #11 Lincoln, #49 Western, #49B North Western, #X49 Western Express, #78 Montrose and the #81 Lawrence.
Approximately 1,433 customers enter the Kedzie station on an average weekday, 955 on Saturday and 598 on Sunday. At Rockwell, 1,318 customers enter on an average weekday, 639 on Saturday and 400 on Sunday.
On several weekends, Kimball and Francisco stations will also close to allow the construction contractor unlimited access to the track, stations and platforms. Brown Line trains will operate between the Loop and Western station on those weekends, and CTA will provide a bus shuttle that will make stops near all Brown Line stations between Kimball and Western.
The first four weekend closures of the 10 needed for this part of the project will take place beginning in late February. Starting at 10 p.m. Friday through 2 a.m. Monday, Brown Line service will be suspended between Kimball and Western on
February 24-26, March 3-5, March 10-12 and March 17-19.
The weekend closures will allow crews at Rockwell and Kedzie to demolish the stations and foundation, and install the new foundations at Kedzie and Rockwell. This work can only be done when trains are not running on live track.
Throughout the Brown Line construction project, slow zones and single track operation are periodically necessary near construction activity so, as a general rule, rail customers should allow extra travel time. Information on known service impacts will be provided through Customer Alerts in rail stations, on CTA buses and trains, provided to media through press releases and posted on CTA's Brown Line web site at ctabrownline.com, as well as CTA's web site at transitchicago.com.
In recent years CTA has added service and extended hours on the Brown Line in an effort to meet demand, however, capacity is still not sufficient to meet the needs of customers along the line. During rush hours customers often cannot squeeze into a crowded train and must wait, sometimes for several trains.
As a solution, platforms will be lengthened to accommodate eight-car trains instead of the six-car trains currently in use, which will allow many more customers to board. In addition, stations will be made accessible to customers with disabilities by installing ramps or elevators and accessible turnstiles. The stations themselves will be rebuilt, with wider stairways, additional turnstiles and improved entrances and exits to allow for a better flow of customer traffic.
As part of the planning process, CTA has worked and continues to work with local Aldermen and business owners along the line to minimize the impact to businesses near temporarily closed stations. CTA is placing advertising cards on the Brown Line and on local bus routes encouraging customers to continue to support these businesses throughout the temporary closures.
In total, 18 Brown Line stations from Kimball to Chicago Avenue are a part of this project. Of those 18 stations, 15 will close temporarily at different points during construction. Only stations within a half-mile or less of each other are scheduled for temporary closure. During the weekday, no two adjacent stations will be closed at the same time so customers may go to the next closest station for Brown Line service, or use nearby CTA bus routes. Temporary closures are necessary in order to have the type of access needed to extend platforms, make stations accessible, stay within budget and keep this project on schedule.
Operating between downtown and the Northwest Side, the Brown Line was originally constructed in two phases, opening for service in 1900 and 1907. The line is the third busiest of CTA's rail lines, serving more than 66,000 customers each weekday, with 19 stations from Kimball on the north to the Merchandise Mart.# # #