Red Line reconstruction: how to get downtown
Starting May 19, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line will be closed at all stops from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan for five months. The 154-day Red Line South Reconstruction Project will replace the 44-year-old tracks that have begun to deteriorate and reach the end of their useful life. This isn't the first renewal the Chicago train system has seen this year. Just last week the reconstruction of the Wells Street Bridge wrapped up, updating the busiest junction of the CTA 'L' system, which sees over 700 trains pass by each weekday. The CTA has also debuted the 5000-series rail cars and the Ventra payment system.
So what does the Red Line South Reconstruction Project entail? The overhaul will allow the Red Line to travel at faster speeds from 95th/Dan Ryan to Roosevelt, eliminating as much as 20 minutes off a rider's commute. The stations will also be improved, with elevators added at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th stops. The summer project will effectively reconstruct the tracks in what would normally take 4 years if work was only scheduled for the weekends.
The CTA will be providing alternate transportation for south side riders:
- Free 24-hour shuttle buses to the Garfield Green Line stop from 69th, 79th, 87th and 95th/Dan Ryan stations and a local, station-to-station shuttle from 63rd to 95th/Dan Ryan. A fifth shuttle will provide express service between the Roosevelt and Cermak-Chinatown stations.
- Free rail entry for shuttle bus riders at Garfield on the Green Line.
- 50 cent discounted bus rides on many South Side routes, including all bus routes south of 63rd Street.
- 24-hour Red Line service as far south as 63rd Street via Green Line tracks between Roosevelt and Ashland/63rd.
- Expanded bus service on existing routes