The south end of the CTA's Red Line will close three months from today for five months, CTA board chair Terry Peterson said at last week's board meeting. The closure dates are May 19 through Oct. 19.
The CTA decided to shut down the Dan Ryan branch from Cermak/Chinatown through 95th for five months rather than put riders through four years of construction if it did the work on weekends while keeping the line running on weekdays. The CTA also says it will save $75 million with the short construction period - dollars they will invest in local transit improvements to South Red Line stations, including new elevators at Garfield, 63rd and 87th, as well as station improvements to all nine stations including painting, lighting repairs and other upgrades.
The scope of work. Everything in the track bed—the median area of the Dan Ryan Expressway—will be replaced: ties, rail, third rail and ballast (the stone/earthen material that holds the ties in place) and drainage systems. Additionally, stations will receive improvements ranging from new paint and lighting improvements to new benches and bike racks.
Alternative service during construction. According to the CTA website, Red Line riders will have three main options, each designed for convenience and efficiency:
- Free, station-to-station express bus shuttle service traveling between Garfield on the Green Line and 95th/Dan Ryan. Red Line stops at 95th/Dan Ryan, 87th, 79th and 69th will have their own shuttle bus service, continually running directly to Garfield on the Green Line (and back). Additionally, an express shuttle bus will continue to serve riders traveling between stations from 63rd to 95th Streets, making stops at each station.
- Red Line trains will travel on the Green Line tracks, south of Roosevelt, to Ashland/63rd. Red Line trains from Ashland/63rd will operate on the Green Line tracks through 35th-Bronzeville-IIT and then continue north to Howard via the subway.
- Green Line service will operate between Harlem/Lake and Cottage Grove, with service via downtown. (Some Green Line trains will operate between Harlem/Lake and the Loop, only, which will help reduce the likelihood of delays due to traffic on the parts where Green and Red will share track.)
- Entry at Garfield (Green Line, also with Red Line service) will be free for shuttle bus riders.
- 50 cent discounted bus rides on many South Side bus routes will also be offered.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Yes, this project means lots of jobs, both construction jobs and CTA jobs for bus drivers to provide more service. The CTA is hiring 400 additional bus operators. These jobs are permanent and will replace positions that will become available over time, even after the construction project is over.