CTA Approves Contract for Design of Cermak Branch Blue Line Renovation


Date of Publication: August 25, 1998
Source: Chicago Transit Authority web site


Plans for renovating the Cermak Branch of CTA's Blue Line are moving ahead with the August 5, 1998 approval by the CTA Board of a contract to design improvements along the street level portion of the route between Kildare and the terminal at 54th/Cermak in Cicero. Funding for actual construction will be provided under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21, that was signed by President Clinton in June.

"Improvements on the Cermak Branch of the Blue Line are essential if we are to keep this vital link to the Southwest Side viable in the next century," said CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. "By moving forward on the design phase now, we will be able to make full use of the TEA-21 funds that will be available for construction under this program."

The improvements being designed include new fully accessible stations at both Kildare and 54th Avenue, a bridge replacement near Kildare, and four new street-level grade crossings. (The station at Cicero Avenue was replaced and made accessible in 1977.) McDonough Associates, Inc., of Chicago, was awarded a $2,131,551 contract for the design work.

Renovation of the terminal and station at 54th/Cermak provide for a single island platform in place of the existing double platform. Customers will reach the station through a new bus turnaround to the north, where connections can be made to two Pace and two CTA bus lines.

Elevators, escalators, and stairs will provide access over the tracks and down to the new platform. Also included in the renovation will be a new kiss and ride area, a new CTA office and crew room, and the expansion of the terminal's rail yard storage capacity from 70 to about 86 cars.

The station at Kildare will be replaced with a new station house and a wider platform, with access provided by a ramp from the street.

CTA President Frank Kruesi said, "The restoration of the Green Line has shown that investing in the maintenance of our transit heritage is at least as important to the future of our service as building new lines. Portions of the Blue and Brown Lines are now also 100 years or older, and must be given the same kind of attention."