Alternative service providing smooth commutes
As the Red Line South reconstruction project today marks the completion of the first month of work, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) officials announced that the $425 million project remains on schedule and within budget, and that alternative service is providing smooth commutes for customers.
“Mayor Emanuel and I are pleased to report that this massive investment in the Red Line South and the South Side is proceeding smoothly and our customers are a month closer to a brand new railroad that provides faster, smoother and more reliable commutes,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “The CTA continues to provide plenty of alternative, convenient and discounted or free service to customers affected by the project and we continue to create jobs and economic benefits for the South Side and Chicago as a whole.”
The Red Line South reconstruction began May 19, requiring a temporary shutdown of 10 miles of track to completely rebuild it. The five-month shutdown will allow the work to be completed in the quickest, most cost-efficient manner, and includes the rehabilitation of eight of nine Red Line South rail stations along the Red Line South. The ninth station, 95th Street Terminal, will be reconstructed in a separate, $240 million project next year.
To accommodate customers affected by the shutdown, the CTA has provided extensive alternative service, including free shuttles between Red Line stations south of 63rd Street and the Garfield elevated rail station; free entry at Garfield Green Line station; Red Line train service running on Green Line tracks from Roosevelt to Ashland/63rd; expanded bus service on numerous nearby bus routes and 50-cent discounts on bus rides south of 63rd Street.
Project progress highlights include:
The project includes replacing all railroad ties, rails, third rail, drainage and communications systems, and ballast, the stone material that holds the ties in place. Station work includes lighting replacement or refurbishment, new signage, floor reglazing/repair, painting, cleaning and new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th stations.
About 95 percent of the old tracks have been removed and 80 percent of the third rail, signals and communications cable has been finished. At shuttered Red Line South stations, demolition and foundation work has progressed in areas where new elevators will be built.
The CTA estimates that overall jobs created by this project will top 1,000, including 400 part-time bus operators, 100 traffic control aides, 400-plus construction jobs and more.
To help customers inconvenienced by the temporary Red Line South branch shutdown, the CTA undertook a major alternative service effort to provide customers with plenty of service alternatives that are being widely used by our customers.
In line with the CTA’s expectations, customers are taking advantage of a number of alternatives during this period.
- More than 9,300 customers on an average weekday are taking express shuttles from 95th, 87th, 79th and 69th to Garfield.
- More than 6,700 customers are taking the local shuttle, which makes all stops between 63rd and 95th.
- More than 1,300 customers take the express shuttle between Cermak/Chinatown and Roosevelt Road.
- Customers are increasing use of the Green, Orange and re-routed Red Line, as well as several north-south bus routes, including the #3 State, #4 Cottage Grove, J14 Jeffery Jump and #29 State.
During the first few weeks of the project, CTA closely monitored ridership patterns each day and made a number of tweaks to the alternative service to better meet ridership demand. For example, CTA added service on the #3 King Drive, #4 Cottage Grove, #J14 Jeffery Jump and #29 State Street bus routes to address an increase in ridership.
Additionally, the CTA increased the number of signs and maps at stations and shuttle stops to help customers more easily navigate the alternative service, and launched a campaign to promote the free shuttles as a convenient alternative to normal north-south bus routes.
More information about the Red Line South project is posted at www.transitchicago.com
. Follow us on Twitter @RedLineSouth for updates.