CTA Blue Line track work will cause delays this weekend - New York News

CTA Blue Line construction to begin this weekend

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(Photo by FOX 32's Craig Wall) (Photo by FOX 32's Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

CTA Blue Line riders between O'Hare International Airport and downtown should plan to add up to 30 minutes to any trip to or from the airport this weekend.

The Blue Line is the second busiest in the CTA system with 82,000 riders every weekday. Many people knew the improvement project was starting Friday night, but that's about all they knew.

"I don't know anything about what they're improving," said rider Vanessa Perez.

The $492 million "Your New Blue" project begins with suspension of Blue Line service between the Logan Square and Western Avenue stations from 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday.

Riders can still take the Blue Line from Logan Square toward O'Hare, but heading inbound at Logan Square they will be offered free shuttle buses to the California and Western stations. This will add extra time, though, to the overall trips for commuters.

No rail service will be available at California — only shuttles to the Logan Square and Western Avenue stations.

The Western station will feature only inbound rail service, with shuttles offered to outbound riders that will stop at the California and Logan Square stations.

In general, the shuttle buses will be "load and go'' and leave when full, but depending on the time of day that could be every 3 to 15 minutes, said CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski.

The CTA said the improvements that will be undertaken over the next four years are long overdue, considering some structures were built in the 1890's. Riders should see a big difference.

"They will look forward to much nicer stations, more modern, better lighting, better accessibility…they'll also be able to look forward to a much smoother, faster train ride," said CTA Spokeswoman Tammy Chase.

The track improvements will also eliminate the slow zones and cut ten minutes off the trip between downtown and O'Hare.

Besides smoother and faster service, riders can also look forward to 4G cell service in the subway tunnels.

"I think that's going to be great because I find myself extremely bored on my commute in the mornings, and I would love it if I could use my cell phone while I'm going underground," said rider Dmitriy Vysotski.

In order to complete the project, stations will be shut down on a rolling basis to minimize the service interruptions. However, that work will require temporary road and sidewalk closures, so neighborhoods will also feel some pain.

The CTA said the short term pain will bring long term gain, at least riders hope so.

"I think once all the changes and improvements are done people will probably really like it, so we just want it to reopen…[in four years] my hair is going to be a lot grayer then, I think, due to the disruptions," added rider John Marron.

The work represents the largest comprehensive improvement to the Blue Line since the O'Hare branch extension was built from Jefferson Park to O'Hare in 1983.

The next weekend affected will be April 4-7, when service will be suspended between Western and Damen.

There is also construction planned for the Red Line. The northbound stations in Edgewater and Rogers Park are closed through early Monday morning.

Blue Line construction information

Red Line construction information

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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