CTA Red Line on South Side to undergo 5 month reconstruction

February 21, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Riders will soon see changes as the CTA embarks on the biggest reconstruction project in the agency's history.

On Thursday, the CTA announced that it is 87 days away from the project's May 19th start date.

Red Line service will stop for five months from Cermak to the end of the line at 95 Street. Thousands of daily riders will have to find alternatives, but the CTA says it has a plan in place to help commuters adjust to changes during reconstruction.

Some will have to switch to the Green Line, which will see an increase in train and passenger traffic. The Garfield station on the Green Line, for example, will go from 1,300 passengers a day to 13,000.

"People got to get to work so they got to do what they got to do," said Loretta Croom, Red Line rider.

The CTA will implement shuttle bus service to offset the shift in commuters.

"Nearly every bus that services the project area will have additional service meaning customers won't have to wait as long for a bus. They'll come much more frequently," said Forrest Claypool, CTA president.

When slow zones plagued the Blue Line five years ago, the CTA replaced wooden ties with those made of recycled plastic-- praised at the time for longer life and a smoother ride. However, for the Red Line rehab, it's back to wood.

"We're going with oak. We think that's our best alternative right now," said Bob Wittmann, CTA construction GM.

The new ties will be good for at least 25 years, officials say.

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