The Chicago Transit Authority has made significant progress replacing track in the Blue Line’s Dearborn Subway. The $88 million project is funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, commonly referred to as stimulus funds, and involves the replacement of approximately seven miles—or 39,000 feet—of track from Division on the O’Hare branch to Clinton on the Forest Park branch.
The first two phases of the project have been completed, with the second phase being completed six weeks earlier than originally anticipated due to improvements in how the work was sequenced. More than 20,000 feet of track has been replaced just north of the Division station to just south of the Grand station. Trains have resumed normal speeds from Division to Clark/Lake as a result, allowing riders to experience faster travel times.
“CTA is putting stimulus funds to good use on projects that will have a direct impact on customers’ travels,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. “Removing slow zones and preventing new ones, improving the bus fleet through the purchase of new buses and overhauling older buses and rail cars are all critical to maintaining a system as extensive and old as CTA’s. Without these federal dollars, we wouldn’t have been able to make these capital investments.”
The final phase of the project will begin after Labor Day and will focus on renewing 19,000 feet of track between the Clark/Lake and UIC-Halsted stations. The work will occur on weekends and will result in the temporary suspension of rail service for Blue Line customers traveling between the two stations. A bus shuttle will operate as a substitute for rail service on select weekends. CTA will notify customers in advance of the weekends scheduled for work. The project will be substantially completed by the end of 2009.
In 2007, CTA began a project to eliminate existing slow zones in the Dearborn subway that were having a major impact on travel time for riders. With the funds available at the time CTA was able to make temporary repairs that allowed trains to resume normal speeds.
From July to September 2007, repairs were made to 6,336 feet of slow zones between the Damen and Clark/Lake stations. Crews replaced more than 5,000 deteriorated wooden rail ties with concrete rail ties.
CTA has received a total of $241 million in stimulus funds. The project is scheduled to be completed in December.
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