City of Chicago and state of Illinois officials are gearing up for the Oct. 20 reopening of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s (CTA) Red Line South, which will mark the completion of a $425 million modernization project.
The 10.2-mile stretch between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street will reopen on schedule after being closed for five months during the rebuilding of track and eight stations along the line, which serves Chicago’s South Side, CTA officials said in a press release.
“The reconstruction of the Red Line South is an historic investment in both the Red Line — the backbone of the CTA rail system — as well as the many communities it serves on Chicago’s South Side,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This brand new railroad will provide faster and more comfortable commutes, and is an important step toward creating a 21st century transit experience for commuters.”
The CTA was the first U.S. transit agency to entirely remove and replace such a large stretch of railroad in a tight timeframe and with an extensive alternative service plan, CTA officials said. Originally opened in 1969, the Red Line South was reconstructed from the ground up, including all rails, ties, ballast, drainage systems and signaling equipment.
The improvements are expected to trim up to 20 minutes off the round-trip commute between 95th Street and downtown Chicago, CTA officials said.