No Good Wood: Brown Line Needs Repair

Newly-renovated platforms already deteriorating

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011  |  Updated 6:33 AM CDT
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The wooden platforms showing signs of wear two years after a costly renovation.

The wooden platforms showing signs of wear two years after a costly renovation.

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Less than two years after a costly and extensive overhaul on several CTA Brown Line stations, the wooden platforms aren't holding up.

The renovations were meant to last 100 years, but in several locations, the wood is rotting, splitting and warping.

"Being a girl, I can't walk here in heels or anything because they get caught in the little chips that are going away," commuter Kelly Johnson said at the Francisco stop.

Fifteen of the 18 Brown Line stations have wooden platforms, and many of the stops were refurbished during a $530 million renovation. The wood was treated with a fire-retardant chemical, but the wood is deteriorating much faster than the CTA expected. A spokesperson says there was no indication that would have pointed to the current problems.

Now the authority is treating the southern yellow pine with a weather resistant chemical, and replacing rotted wood on a board-by-board basis.

CTA officials say more than 120,000 square feet of wood were used on the Brown Line renovation and less than 10 percent has had to be replaced.

The wood was not covered under manufacturer's warranty, so the repairs are being done on the CTA's dime.

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