Crews in March will begin a series of weekend closures on the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line as part of a nearly $500 million upgrade project.
Dubbed "Your New Blue," the project includes track and station improvements along the 12.5 mile portion of the Blue Line between the Grand and O'Hare stations.
The first phase involves replacing wooden rail ties, tie plates and other track materials on the elevated track structure between the Damen and Logan Square stops. That's a section of line that opened in 1895 and still sits on the original structure. The work will require 10 temporary, weekend-only closures which are tentatively scheduled between March and August. Closures are planned for seven weekends between Western and Logan Square and for three weekends between Damen and Western.
The first temporary closure is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of March 21-24. The closure will begin at 10 p.m. Friday and reopen by 4 a.m. Monday. Free shuttle buses will be provided for rail customers affected by the closures.
"As with all of our projects, our main goal is to minimize the impacts on both commuters and the community as we improve the Blue Line for the long term," CTA President Forrest Claypool said.
Later in 2014, the CTA will begin rehabilitation projects at the Western, Damen and California rail stations -- the latter two of which date back to 1895. Project schedules are still being finalized for that work. The firm F. H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen and Associates, LLC earlier this month was awarded a $25.6 million contract for those projects.
In all, the four-year Your New Blue program will upgrade 13 stations, including adding a new elevator at Addison; improve tracks and signals; install new water-management systems and repairs to ensure dry and clean subway stations; and upgrade traction power to improve service and reliability.
The project comes on the heels of the $425 million Red Line South reconstruction project. That effort completely shut down nine stations and 10 miles of track for five months.