Blue Line O’Hare

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is set to begin the first project for the $492m Your New Blue improvement programme for the Blue Line O’Hare branch in March 2014.

The move is in line with CTA’s strategy to provide faster, smoother commutes and improved stations along the Blue Line O’Hare Branch.

Funded by several local, state and federal sources, including $86m from Governor Pat Quinn’s Jump Start programme, Your New Blue is a part of more than $4bn transit improvements announced by mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011.

Your New Blue improvement programme includes various track and station improvement projects along the 12.5-mile stretch of the O’Hare Branch between the Grand and O’Hare stations.

Currently, more than 80,000 customers use stations along the branch each weekday. Over the past five years weekday ridership on the O’Hare Branch increased by 25%.

"Your New Blue represents a huge investment in CTA riders."

CTA president Forrest Claypool said: "Your New Blue represents a huge investment in CTA riders and visitors travelling to Chicago via O’Hare and the many vibrant communities along the North and Northwest Sides."

The phase I of the improvement programme includes the replacement of wooden rail ties, tie plates and other track materials on the Milwaukee elevated track structure between the Damen and Logan Square stops.

It will require around 10 temporary, weekend-only closures of small sections of the Blue Line, which are scheduled between March and August.

CTA will also provide free shuttle bus service for rail customers, as well as free transfers back into rail stations during the temporary closures.

Image: CTA Blue Line L @ U of I Halsted. Photo: courtesy of David Wilson.