Chicago completes 1st phase of Forest Park Branch Rebuild project

Forest Park Branch RebuildChicago Transit Authority (CTA) has completed the first phase of Forest Park Branch Rebuild project which will make transport service along the Blue Line more attractive, accessible and faster.

Following work completion, transport services resumed serving the Clinton and UIC-Halsted stations operating the O’Hare (airport station) – UIC-Halsted and Forest Park – Illinois Medical District (IMD) sections.

As part of the USD 268 million Forest Park Branch Rebuild project, crews are completely rebuilding 4.8 km of track, between the LaSalle and IMD stations, the demolishing and completely rebuilding the Racine station to meet modern accessibility guidelines and upgrading the traction power system that provides electricity to the system and will result in improved service reliability.

As part of the first phase of the work, the 4.8 km track section and the underlying drainage system between the UIC-Halsted and LaSalle stations has been completely removed and rebuilt.

Under the second phase, crews will rebuild the track between the IMD and UIC-Halsted stations.

Upon completion of track work, the Loomis St. auxiliary entrance of the Racine station will re-open. The main entrance of the Racine station will remain closed and is expected to re-open in late-2024, at which time the Loomis St. auxiliary entrance will close for reconstruction through 2025.

The first phase of the project is funded by a mix of state and local resources, including Rebuild Illinois, TIF and CTA Bonds. Additional funding is needed to advance future phases of the Forest Park Branch Rebuild, which in total is estimated to cost USD 3 billion, including Phase I work.

The Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line has received some improvements since its opening in 1958. After six decades of heavy use the tracks along the entire branch are beyond their useful life. This has resulted in nearly 80% of the branch being under slow zones, which cause service delays. Further, only four of the eleven stations, or 36%, along the branch are accessible to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. The entire project involves the reconstruction of seven stations to make them meet modern accessibility guidelines.



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