The work is expected to improve travel times, eliminate all slow zones and help slow the development of future slow zones, reducing future maintenance and repair costs.
The project will address slow zones not repaired during previous construction projects. Currently, Blue Line trains operating to and from O'Hare Airport and the Loop incur speed restrictions ranging from 35 mph to 15 mph as a precautionary measure following track inspections that found that the wood crossties were in poor condition and in need of replacement.
In addition to replacing deteriorated crossties along the elevated structure, project work will also entail the replacement of tie plates, fateners and footwalks. Project work is expected to begin in the spring and continue through the fall of 2014.
Funding for this project is a combination of sources, but is primarily funded with grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III program.
The board also awarded a $25.6 million contract to Clark Construction Group for the Kimball, Princeton and State Substation Rehabilitation project, which will make numerous improvements to three substations that provide power to CTA's Red and Brown lines. The project will also upgrade existing substation buildings.
The scope of the work will upgrade existing electrical equipment and buildings at Princeton substation on West 63rd Street, the State Street substation in the Loop and the Kimball substation at the Brown Line terminal. The project will also increase the electrical power capacity at both State and Kimball by 20 percent.
The project will rehabilitate electrical systems and replace AC/DC conversion equipment, new cables and switches, as well as perform masonry work, install new roofs, doors and floors to weather proof the substations.
Clark Construction Group will provide both design and construction services for a total not to exceed $25.6 million and money from CTA's Capital budget will fund the project, which is expected to start in the spring of 2014 and complete by the end of 2015.
Finally, the board approved a plan that will use $15.7 million of city tax-increment financing funds to make its Quincy station accessible to customers with disabilities. Improvements will include the addition of two elevators, the replacement of two sets of entrance stairs, as well as painting, lighting improvements and other repairs, while retaining the historic appearance of the station, one of the few surviving original Loop 'L' stations. Renewal work will include refurbishing station surfaces, including woodwork, doors, railings, ceilings and framing.
The Quincy station, built in 1897, was last renovated 25 years ago in 1988. The station provides more than 2.2 million rides annually on the Brown, Orange, Pink and Purple lines and is a major multi-modal transfer point for 10 bus routes, as well as providing easy connection to Union Station and the LaSalle Street Metra Station.
The CTA anticipates design work, which will include input from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the city's Landmarks Commission because of the station's historical status, could begin as early as 2014 and construction could begin as soon as 2015.