CTA ready to move forward with $443 million in two big Red Line projects

The CTA board in June approved contracts to begin two big Red Line projects – the $240 million 95th Street/Dan Ryan project to replace and expand the existing structure, and the $203 million work at Wilson to create a new station house and platform.

Looking northwest at Wilson.

Looking northwest at Wilson.

The board approved the award of both the $153.6 million construction contract for the Wilson station reconstruction project, and a $23.1 million contract for the initial foundation and retaining wall work for the 95th/Dan Ryan station to Walsh/2-in-1 Joint Venture, which was selected for both projects following separate bidding processes.

The $203 million Wilson project will replace the badly deteriorated stationhouse, built in 1923, with a new, modern and accessible station that will also serve as a new transfer point between Red and Purple Line service. Project work also includes the reconstruction of 2,200 feet of century-old elevated tracks, signals and supporting infrastructure that will be relocated from the street and sidewalks along Broadway and Wilson to the west to create a safer and more pedestrian-friendly environment. This comprehensive station work will be performed within the footprint of the existing station, which is located in the Uptown Square Historic District, and with minimal impact to 24/7 rail service. Work is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The new $240 million 95th Street/Dan Ryan station project will replace and expand the existing structure, built in 1969. The station sees 20,000 customers on an average weekday, and serves as both the southern terminal of the Red Line and as a bus terminal for more than 1,000 weekday CTA and Pace bus trips.

The new 95 Street station rendering almost looks like a space station from above.

The new 95 Street station rendering almost looks like a space station from above.

The construction will replace the existing, cramped station with two station buildings—one north and one south of 95th Street. The new arrangement will not only benefit rail customers, but allow for more efficient bus operations and provide a safer, more convenient pedestrian environment. Work is expected to begin in fall 2014.

Read what the Chicago Architecture Blog has to say about the Wilson and 95th Street projects.
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  • Does CTA do any cost/benefit analysis when doing these megaprojects? They are spending $240M to serve 20,000 bus and rail customers at 95th and $203M to serve 6,500 Wilson L riders + the small number of 78 and 36 bus boardings that occur at that spot. CTA actually cut bus service to Wilson in 2012 in its "rebalancing" because of low ridership in Uptown. Riders spend the same fare at both stations but CTA is spending more than double on a per rider basis at Wilson. It's not the most equitable way for a transit agency to develop a system.

  • In reply to josephm:

    The answer to this is no, but not for the reason you think.

    The 95th bus terminal involves about $180 million in debt, but would be totally unnecessary if the Red Line extension to 130th is built. If they are not admitting that the extension will not be built, it is a total waste of money. Figure out what the boardings would be if various bus lines were not diverted to 95th, but served at stations at 103rd, 111th, 115th and Michigan, and 130th and Atlgeld Gardens.

    In the meantime, the Wilson L structure is a mess and detriment to the community.

  • In reply to jack:

    I betting that the Wilson cost will skyrocket when they discover that the Gerber Building is going to cost way, way more to rehab & will need what amounts to all new construction, with the outer terra cotta wall being dismantled & then reapplied to a totally new structure.
    They should have just told the loony preservationists to drop dead & build all new.

  • In reply to josephm:

    To answer your question, probably not.

    But there will be benefits to the Wilson station in the sense that they will be able to rent several store properties that are currently uninhabited after the construction. While it maybe a small amount, it will help offset some cost of construction after completion.

    Also, as Jack notes below the modifying of the L supports in the middle of Broadway will have a huge improvement to the Uptown community.

    I look forward to seeing the work progress.

  • In reply to chris:

    I also forgot that the Wilson station will facilitate establishing better local/express service on the north main.

  • Has anyone ever seen a detailed list of expenses for these 9-figure projects? I'm curious. The numbers seem high even when you account for things like Daley's nephews, Chicago graft, etc.

  • In reply to Blue:

    CTA only publishes the total and the supposed source of funds, but since the contracts have been let, you could FOIA them.

    In these two cases, land acquisition is only going to be a minor cost (in the 95th case, because the only land to be acquired is for a staging area on the east side of State, consisting of a couple of beauty counters, gas stations, and hot dog stands, and Wilson because they own the property), but I bet that a huge part of the $320 million stated cost of the Brown Line flyover is condemnation.

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