The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has selected three prequalified teams to submit proposals for the $3.6 billion Red Line project to extend rapid transit service 5.6 miles to Chicago’s Far South Side.
The project will run from the existing southern terminal at 95th Street to 130th Street, and include four new, fully accessible stations as well as a new railcar storage yard and maintenance facility. The Red Line extension would operate on an elevated structure from approximately 95th Street to near 119th Street, where it would transition to ground level and continue at ground level until its terminus near 130th Street. The 103rd Street, 111th Street and Michigan Avenue stations would be elevated, and the 130th Street station would be at ground level. The project will be grade-separated.
CTA last October issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), and has now selected the FH Paschen, Ragnar Benson, Milhouse and BOWA Joint Venture; Kiewit Infrastructure; and Walsh VINCI Transit Community Partners to move into the next phase of the competitive procurement process. The contracting teams’ design-build proposals are due in early 2024, and execution is expected by the end of 2024, according to the transit agency.
“The contracting teams’ proposals will be considered on a variety of criteria, including experience, price, diversity outreach plans, and other factors,” reported CTA, which noted that the “Final RFP will include aggressive workforce goals and will require significant participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-certified firms and career-seekers from underrepresented communities and economically disadvantaged areas.”
CTA said it expects major project construction to begin in late 2025; work is dependent, however, on securing full project funding. (In December 2020, CTA entered the Project Development phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program.)
The Red Line extension project is expected to create 2,500 direct and indirect construction jobs annually, according to the transit agency. It estimates that service will begin in 2029. Total project ridership of about 38,000 rides each weekday is anticipated. CTA said it expects that to grow to approximately 44,000 rides each weekday by 2037.
CTA is moving “closer to providing Chicago residents with an extended and improved commute on the Red Line, our busiest line, by selecting the best and most qualified firms to ultimately build this dream and make it a reality,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said during the May 12 announcement. “This historic project represents equity for the underserved South Side community by finally giving them a rail line that extends to the city limits.”