Chicago Transit Authority Awarded $111 Million Grant for Blue Line Track Replacement Project

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Chicago Transit Authority released renderings for the new, fully accessible Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations last week, after announcing $111 million from the department of transportation’s reconnecting communities grant program to replace more than 10,000 feet of Blue Line track between Kedzie and Pulaski.

“This funding is a critically needed investment in the Forest Park Branch and allows us to continue to move forward on our promise to improve rail service on the west side,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.

“This grant reinforces the Biden-Harris’s Administration’s commitment to improving safety and equity through investments in public transit. We thank Senators Durbin and Duckworth, and the Illinois Delegation, for their support of this important project.”

The project is located within the East Garfield Park and West Garfield Park communities of Chicago. The Blue Line track work between Pulaski and Kedzie is tentatively expected to begin in Summer 2027.

Reconnecting Communities is intended to advance community-centered transportation connection projects, with a priority for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, that improve access to daily needs such as jobs, education, healthcare, food, nature, and recreation, and foster equitable development and restoration.This grant represents the latest investment to support the Forest Park Branch Rebuild – a multi-year, multi-phased investment program to reconstruct the entire Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line and make it 100% accessible to those who use mobility devices.

Starting last summer, the CTA rebuilt 15,000 feet or almost three miles of tracks between the LaSalle and Illinois Medical District (IMD) stations; demolished and began rebuilding the Racine station to meet modern accessibility guidelines; and upgraded the traction power system for improved service reliability as part of Phase 1 of the project.

The vertically accessible Racine station is expected to reopen by the end of 2024.Much of the infrastructure along the Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line is original, dating back to 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.

The CTA continues to work on securing funding needed to rebuild the entire Forest Park Branch and details will be released as funding becomes available.

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