The $492-million plan, called Your New Blue, includes several track and station improvement projects along a 12.5-mile stretch of the Blue Line O'Hare Branch between the Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O'Hare stations.
These improvements are expected to provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable commutes for the more than 80,000 customers who each weekday use stations along the branch, which had 25 million rides last year. This project is the largest comprehensive investment for this line since the O'Hare branch extension was built from Jefferson Park to O'Hare in 1983.
"Like the Red Line South project we just completed on time and within budget, this Blue Line plan is far-reaching and long overdue and will help meet increasing demand," said Chicago Mayor Emanuel. "This plan represents a huge investment in CTA riders and visitors traveling to Chicago via O'Hare and many vibrant communities along the North and Northwest Sides. It's also part of our latest efforts to modernize our transit system for the 21st Century."
The four-year plan's highlights include extensive station renovations at the Grand, Chicago, Division, Damen, California, Logan Square and Jefferson Park stations; concrete platform repairs and installation of a new elevator at the Addison station to make it Americans with Disabilities Act accessible; repairs at the Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem and Cumberland stations; track improvements to eliminate and prevent slow zones in the Milwaukee Subway (Damen to Belmont) and Dearborn Subway (Grand to Division), respectively; track signal improvements between O'Hare and Jefferson Park, which will improve speed of travel; traction power upgrades to improve service and reliability; installation of new water management systems and repairs to ensure dry and clean subway stations; special track improvements near the O'Hare station and in the Rosemont rail yard to help reduce delays and provide for more efficient operations and
an upgrade of wireless infrastructure in the subway tunnels to provide customers and workers with faster and more reliable voice, data and web service in the subway.
Funding for Your New Blue is expected to come from local, state and federal sources. The first projects are expected to get under way in 2014. Project schedules are still being finalized, but the project is expected to begin with trackwork, following by station renovations, power upgrades and then signal improvements.