The state's top politicians joined forces today to announce plans for Your New Blue, a four-year rehab to improve track and stations along a 12.5-mile stretch of the CTA's Blue Line from Grand north to Cumberland, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O’Hare stations.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn both tried to make political hay with this big project to improve service for the 80,000 riders who use the Blue Line every weekday along that north branch.
Here are the highlights of the four-year plan, says the CTA:
- Extensive station renovations at the Grand, Chicago, Division, Damen, California, Logan Square and Jefferson Park stations.
- Concrete platform repairs and installation of a new elevator at the Addison station to make it ADA accessible.
- Repairs at the Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem and Cumberland stations.
- Track improvements to eliminate and prevent slow zones in the Milwaukee Subway (Damen to Belmont) and Dearborn Subway (Grand to Division), respectively.
- Track signal improvements between O’Hare and Jefferson Park, which will improve speed of travel.
- Traction power upgrades to improve service and reliability.
- Installation of new water management systems and repairs to ensure dry and clean subway stations.
- Special track improvements near the O’Hare station and in the Rosemont rail yard to help reduce delays and provide for more efficient operations.
- Upgrade of wireless infrastructure in the subway tunnels to provide customers and workers with faster and more reliable voice, data and web service in the subway. Current infrastructure was built in 2005 and is inadequate and outdated.
Funding for Your New Blue is expected to come from local, state and federal sources. The first projects are expected to get underway in 2014, says the CTA. The project is expected to begin with track work, following by station renovations, power upgrades and then signal improvements.