The California station on the Blue Line's O'Hare branch will close for six weeks starting in September, followed by a nine-week shutdown of the Damen station to accommodate work on the almost half-billion-dollar renovation of the route, CTA officials said Sunday.
In addition, less-extensive repairs and improvements will be done on the Western station, which will remain open during construction. Western underwent a major renovation in 2001.
The California station is scheduled to close Sept. 4 and reopen Oct. 16, the CTA said.
The Damen station will close Oct. 20 and reopen Dec. 22.
The CTA will provide expanded bus service on the No. 56 Milwaukee route during the $33 million worth of improvements to the three stations, officials said. The extra bus service will operate on weekday morning and evening rush periods. "Owl'' service will be added during overnight hours to link to the closest stations in either direction of the closed California or Damen stations, officials said.
Improvements will be made at a total of 13 of the 16 stations on the O'Hare branch during the four-year project, officials said.
California and Damen will get stationhouse and platform upgrades that include structural repairs, better lighting and signage, more turnstiles and new bicycle racks, officials said. Historic features of the stations will be preserved and restored. All three stations will receive new public artwork after completion of the improvement project.
Temporary street and alley closures and parking restrictions will be announced closer to the project start date, officials said.
The station work follows track upgrades that began in March, aimed at increasing speed and reliability. The track work is expected to be completed in September, officials said.
The O'Hare branch had been dotted with numerous slow zones that dragged out the roughly 15-mile trip between downtown and O'Hare to about 50 minutes. The improvements, when completed at the end of 2018, are projected to shave up to 10 minutes off travel times each way, transit officials said.
The $492 million "Your New Blue'' project marks the most comprehensive work on the line since it was extended to O'Hare International Airport in 1984, officials said. The O'Hare branch provides more than 80,000 rides on an average weekday.
The project also involves upgrading signals and traction power and resolving water problems on the subway, elevated and Kennedy Expressway sections of the O'Hare branch.
Turnback tracks will also be constructed at Jefferson Park and UIC Halsted to allow the CTA to short-turn trains during peak travel hours so it can match service to the heaviest passenger demand, officials said.