Officials say the full closure of several Red Line stations will expedite the work. Charlie Wojciechowski explains.
Beginning May 19, the Chicago Transit Authority's crumbling Red Line tracks south of Roosevelt Road will shut down for the largest construction project in the transit authority's history.
Commuters must find an alternate way to get where they are going for the next five months via new routes on different buses and trains. For most riders, that means walking to a new train station on the Green Line, which essentially will replace the Red Line from Roosevelt to Garfield.
South of Garfield, the CTA will run six free shuttles from the Green Line station to 95th Street.
An average of 50,000 riders use the south branch of the Red Line each day, according to the CTA.
The CTA, Metra and the Chicago Police are reaching out to riders in hopes of making the five-month, 10-mile track rehab project more manageable, but some riders say they still haven’t figured out how they will work around it.
To help out, the CTA hung red banners at each of the nine affected stations to remind riders of the coming shutdown. Ambassadors in red T-shirts answered questions during evening rush hours.
The CTA also introduced the website redlinesouth.com, with a trip planner to help commuters find their way around as routes change depending on the day and time.
The site includes 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.
The $425 million project was introduced last year. Officials 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. Officials said $75 million will be saved by using this method.