Chicago Transit Board Approves Western Brown Line Station Rehabilitation Plan

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor, Railway Age
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The Chicago Transit Board has approved the awarding of a contract for the first stage of work outlined as part of a new, progressive design-build contract that will provide up to $19 million in repairs and improvements for the Western Brown Line station, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reported on April 12.

According to CTA, this action “marks the first major upgrade of the facility in more than 40 years” and is the latest initiative by CTA as part of its ongoing “Meeting the Moment” Action Plan—a multifaceted investment plan to strengthen the rider experience— “more consistent and reliable service, safe rides, clean facilities, modern amenities, dynamic customer engagement tools, and a strong CTA workforce.”

Improvements planned as part of this project, CTA says, include the replacement of concrete aprons, elevators, and other major building and operational components to help make the rail station and bus turnaround meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Other enhancements will include upgraded security cameras and public address system for improved station security, as well as enhanced station access with new curb ramps, sidewalks, and improvements to the walkway to Lincoln Avenue.

Under this new, progressive design-build contract, CTA says work associated with the Western Brown Line Rehabilitation project will be split into two stages: pre-construction services then final design and construction. 

Following a competitive procurement process, F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC was selected for the first stage of work, or pre-construction services. Per the terms of the agreement, the contractor will be allocated approximately $2 million to coordinate the pre-construction services (i.e., surveying, structural engineering and design, etc.). The remaining project funds, CTA says, will be used to cover costs associated with the second phase of the contract, which calls for final design and construction work, and will be put out to bid at a future date. 

By splitting up the project work into two phases, CTA says it can minimize cost over runs and delays by “ensuring all project participants, such as engineers, architects, and contractors, collaborate early in the project planning phase before project plans are finalized.”

The Western Brown Line station provided nearly 600,000 annual rides in 2022, and also offers connections to the following five bus routes: #11 Lincoln, #49 Western, #49B North Western, #X49 Western Express and #81 Lawrence.

Project details are not yet finalized but CTA says it estimates design work beginning as early as summer 2023, and construction beginning in 2024.

Established as part of the original construction of the Ravenswood branch in the early-1900s, the current Western Brown Line station was rebuilt in 1920 and underwent a major renovation in 1979-1981 to be made fully compliant with the ADA. Since this station was already fully accessible to those who use mobility devices, this was the only Brown Line station to receive modest upgrades and repairs under the Brown Line Capacity Expansion project (2004-2009).

“I’m proud of the investments we continue to make in modernizing stations across our system,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We know from years of experience just how CTA’s major investments can translate into an even larger investment in our communities and in the people we serve.”

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