Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined CTA officials and construction workers for an up-close view of the Red Line South reconstruction, a project that’s completely rebuilding one of Chicago’s busiest rail lines and creating significant employment and contracting opportunities.
“This is a world-class infrastructure project that will shape Chicago for decades to come,” said Mayor Emanuel, who was joined by CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson and President Forrest Claypool at the 47th Street station, one of 8 stations along the line being rehabbed as part of the $425 million complete reconstruction of the branch. “More people take the Red Line than any other CTA line, and this rehabilitation work will help people move around the city more efficiently and will drive economic growth throughout the South Side and the downtown area.”
Six weeks into the project, nearly all of the tracks, ties, third rail and ballast have been removed from the 10 miles of railroad between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street. Crews have also begun the rehabilitation of eight of the nine stations that are part of the project, with work including lighting replacement or refurbishment, floor reglazing/repair, painting, cleaning and new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th stations. The ninth station, 95th Street Terminal, will be reconstructed in a separate, $240 million project next year.
The Red Line South reconstruction is one of the City’s largest current infrastructure projects, and one of the largest transit-related projects in the country. The reconstruction will generate around 1,500 jobs, including 1,000 construction jobs and more than 400 part-time, permanent bus operators. Many of those jobs are being filled by Chicagoans.
Additionally, both of the project’s prime contractors—Kiewit Construction (track work) and F.H. Paschen, S.N.Nielsen (station work)—have either met or exceeded the CTA’s goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation, by hiring a total of 39 DBE subcontractors for a total of $82.5 million. Approximately $54 million of that will go to African-American owned firms.
The Red Line South reconstruction project is among more than $1 billion in investment Mayor Emanuel has directed to improving the Red Line, the backbone of the CTA rail system, providing more than one-third of rail ridership. Upcoming Red Line projects include the complete reconstruction of the Wilson station ($203M), complete reconstruction of the 95th Street terminal ($240M), and an overhaul of the Clark/Division subway station ($41M).
“From the time we announced the project last summer to the first day of work in May, we have taken numerous steps to promote job and contracting opportunities on this project,” Peterson said, citing bus driver job fairs and DBE meet-and-greet sessions as examples. “This project represents a significant investment not only in the CTA, but in the South Side communities it serves.”
To serve customers during the Red Line South reconstruction, which runs through October 2013, the CTA is providing extensive alternative bus and rail service that’s being widely used each day. Free bus shuttles carry passengers between the 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th and 63rd Street station to the Garfield elevated station, where entry is free. Additionally, the CTA if offering a 50-cent discount on all bus rides south of 63rd Street.
“Our goal from the start of the project was to provide multiple, convenient options for our customers as a way to minimize the project’s impact,” said Claypool. “Our alternative service is doing just that, and we’re working every day to make sure that service continues smoothly.”
More information about the Red Line South project is posted at www.transitchicago.com/redsouth