CTA expands Red Line project to battle slow zones

Tribune reporter

With service disruptions already delaying commuters this summer on the CTA Red Line north branch due to emergency facelifts on seven of the rail system’s most dilapidated stations, transit officials today expanded the project by adding $15 million in track and viaduct repairs to reduce slow zones.

The decision to piggyback on track closures and train reroutes taking place during the ongoing $57.4 million rehab of the stations – rather than creating new interruptions later – means that Red Line trains will run faster sooner on the North Side, CTA president Forrest Claypool said.

“We hope to eliminate slow zones and shave two to three minutes off the commute in 2012 instead of having to wait (to do the work) until 2014,’’ Claypool said.

The seven stations undergoing temporary repairs until funding is available to demolish and rebuild them to modern standards are at Jarvis, Morse, Granville, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence, which Claypool has called “the worst stations we have.’’

About 1.3 miles of deteriorated track and rail will be replaced at the Lawrence, Granville and Jarvis stations, as well as portions of track between the Berwyn, Thorndale and Granville and Loyola stops, officials said. Waterproofing and track replacement will also occur between Loyola and Morse.
In addition, viaducts over Pratt and Lawrence avenues will be repaired, officials said.

Completion of work that started this spring on the seven stations is still slated by the end of this year, with the additional track and station components set to wrap up by early next year, officials said.

Kiewit Infrastructure Co. is the contractor.

The CTA has hired Goldman Sachs and other financial advisers to explore public-private partnerships and other alternative methods to help pay for a complete modernization of the Red Line/Purple Line corridor for all stations north of Belmont.

All stations would then comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Goldman Sachs would also help arrange financing for the proposed Red Line south extension, which would run about 5 1/2 miles from the current terminal at 95th Street on the Dan Ryan Expressway to 130th Street.

Twitter @jhilkevitch

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