We’ve been known to criticize the CTA when they deserve it. Now after reading about the fiasco around the Metra Union Pacific North Line bridge rebuilding project, I want to give the CTA some props.
Late last year the CTA finished the $530 million Brown Line expansion project. It took many years and lots of logistical planning. Stations were closed for up to a year. The busy corridor from north of Belmont to south of Fullerton saw track capacity reduced by 25% for about three years due to the three-tracking project.
And yet, everything went off pretty well, all things considered. The CTA finished the project on time. While trains were delayed by up to 10-15 minutes during rush hour, the trains did keep running. Capacity dropped some, but the CTA did a good job of telling passengers to use alternate bus routes instead.
Overall, they did a much better job on this major project than Metra is doing on its major project. It had barely started when passengers complained so loudly that it halted the project for further review. Now Metra has decided to go back to the drawing board and try to reconfigure the entire project — after contracts had already been signed.
Is the CTA perfect, and did the Brown Line project come off without a hitch? No. And I’m sure my pal jackonthebus and others will tell us about the problems.
But all in all, I do think the CTA deserves much credit for pulling it off fairly successfully, compared to what we’re seeing with the Metra UP North project.