CTA O'Hare Blue Line stretch to get $20 million in slow zone repairs

The CTA next spring will begin a $20.4 million project to repair slow zones on the O'Hare Blue Line between the Damen and Logan Square stations.

Last week the board approved the contract with Kiewit Infrastructure Inc., the same firm that completed the Red Line north interim station improvement project and the track work of the Red Line south reconstruction project. In addition to replacing deteriorated wooden rail ties along the elevated structure, project work will also entail the replacement of tie plates, fasteners and footwalks, the CTA said in a news release.

The project work is expected to be completed by fall of 2014. The CTA said it will make "every effort" to minimize impacts to customers, including scheduling work that will impact service to overnight or weekends only.

Due to current slow zones, train operate from O'Hare to the Loop at speeds between 15 and 35 miles per hour. Previous track inspections that found that the wooden rail ties were in poor condition and in need of replacement in the targeted area.

Between 2007 and 2009, CTA completed two projects that targeted slow zones affecting service between the O’Hare and Addison stations and the stretch of track north of Division to south of Clinton in the Dearborn subway. So it will be good to tackle this annoyingly slow stretch between Damen and Logan Square.

Funding for this project is a combination of sources, but is primarily funded with grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the TIGER III program (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), which is a federal grant program designed to improve transportation infrastructure.


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  • Meanwhile, not a damn thing has been done on the CTA's busiest line, the North Red to replace the worn out crossovers just north of Granville! Trains move at 10MPH through that area.

  • I agree. It's amazing sometimes to be riding between Loyola and Granville, get lost in a book for a while, and then look up to see you're just arriving at Granville, when it feels like we should be down to at least Wilson by now. The train just floats along at walking speed, or so it seems.

  • As the two above comments imply, we may be back to Sisyphus. A couple of years later, we'll get "we weren't fixing the slow zones, we were just fixing the ties and fasteners."

    IMO, they should have built a subway under Milwaukee from Division to where they started the Logan Square subway when they got the 2200 cars for the latter project. Of course, by now it probably would need the Dan Ryan work. Even if they keep the L, they should have done the job they did on the Pink Line replacing the structure, except, of course, that the structure slow zone at Kostner is still there.

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