The Red Line tracks and stations will be overhauled south on the 10-mile stretch from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street starting in May and for five months afterward. A total on nine stations will be affected in the $425 million project. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
Commuters who take the Red Line south of Roosevelt might need help getting around while 10 miles of the "L" is under construction.
The Chicago Transit Authority plans to shut down stops from Cermak Road to 95th Street to rebuild tracks on the line. CTA officials say the shut-down ultimately will provide "faster, more comfortable and more reliable service for Red Line riders," but in the meantime, it will provide headaches as commuters devise alternate routes to their Red Line routine.
To help, the CTA built RedLineSouth.com, a website with a trip planner to help residents find their way around as routes change depending on the day and time.
When you put your information into the site, a Google map pops up with the fastest route.
There's also information about construction progress, general service alternatives and a reminder of the perks to come, including a 20-minute faster commute between 95th/Dan Ryan and Roosevelt, reduced potential for service issues, improved station environments and new elevators at Garfield, 63rd and 87th stations.
"We realize this will have an impact on our customers," CTA Chairman Terry Peterson said when the $425 million project was introduced last year.
Peterson said the Red Line has exceeded its expected lifespan and 40 percent of the 10-mile span is considered a "slow zone." Repairs are expected to reduce commute times by 20 minutes.
The CTA decided to close the entire Dan Ryan section to shorten the length of construction time from four years on weekends to five months in total. Peterson said $75 million will be saved by using this method.
During construction, free shuttle buses will be offered from 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line stations to the Garfield station on the Green Line. Entry to the Green Line Garfield station will be free and riders will get 50-cent discounted bus rides on many South Side routes.
Smartphone Apps to Assist Commuters: