The Chicago Transit Authority has made significant progress replacing track in the Blue Line's Dearborn Subway. The $88-million project is funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, commonly referred to as stimulus funds, and involves the replacement of approximately seven miles-or 39,000 feet-of track from Division on the O'Hare branch to Clinton on the Forest Park branch.
The first two phases of the
project have been completed, with the second phase being completed six weeks
earlier than originally anticipated due to improvements in how the work was
sequenced. More than 20,000 feet of track has been replaced just north of the
Division station to just south of the Grand station. Trains have resumed normal
speeds from Division to Clark/Lake as a result, allowing riders to experience
faster travel times.
"CTA is putting stimulus
funds to good use on projects that will have a direct impact on customers’
travels," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "Removing slow zones and
preventing new ones, improving the bus fleet through the purchase of new buses
and overhauling older buses and rail cars are all critical to maintaining a
system as extensive and old as CTA’s. Without these federal dollars, we wouldn’t
have been able to make these capital investments."
The final phase of the
project will begin after Labor Day and will focus on renewing 19,000 feet of
track between the Clark/Lake and UIC-Halsted stations. The work will occur on
weekends and will result in the temporary suspension of rail service for Blue
Line customers traveling between the two stations. A bus shuttle will operate
as a substitute for rail service on select weekends. CTA will notify customers
in advance of the weekends scheduled for work. The project will be completed by
the end of 2009.
In 2007, CTA began a
project to eliminate existing slow zones in the Dearborn subway that were
having a major impact on travel time for riders. With the funds available at
the time CTA was able to make temporary repairs that allowed trains to resume
normal speeds. From July to September 2007, repairs were made to 6,336 feet of
slow zones between the Damen and Clark/Lake stations. Crews replaced more than
5,000 deteriorated wooden rail ties with concrete rail ties.
CTA has received a total of
$241 million in stimulus funds.