The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will begin major work on two Near South Side projects, the rehabilitation of the Harrison Red Line station and the Orange Line’s 18th Street Connector, as part of a larger $92 million transportation investment in the Near South Side announced last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool.
The $10 million Harrison Red Line station rehabilitation, to begin Monday, April 14, will provide a brighter, cleaner and safer travel environment for the 1.4 million people who use the Harrison station each year.
Improvements will include structural and cosmetic repairs that will upgrade the 70-year-old facility and its three entrances, following tunnel lighting improvements and painting completed at the station last year. The rehabilitation work includes building two main entrance canopies, waterproofing to reduce pooling of water in mezzanine and platform areas; installation of new granite flooring; new lighting; and repairs to all three station stairways.
Work on the station begins at 4 a.m. Monday with the temporary, 42-day closure of the auxiliary entrance located on Polk Street. During this time, crews will rehabilitate the auxiliary entrance stairway, mezzanine and south end of the platform. Customers will be directed to use the main station entrance located on State Street just south of Harrison. There will be full station closures on five weekends from May through early June.
Upon completion of all project work, the Harrison station will be the first rail station fully-equipped with all new, brighter and more energy efficient LED lighting throughout. The rehabilitated station will also feature modern design elements reflective of the surrounding neighborhood. This project is funded solely with tax increment financing available through Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now program.
Work on the Orange Line’s 18th Street Connector, which was built 45 years ago and carries Orange Line trains to and from the Loop, will begin on April 18.
The $25 million project will make significant repairs to the half-mile structure that will provide a smoother, more reliable ride for customers. The project work will include painting, structural improvements, waterproofing and track work, which includes the replacement of worn rail ties and components. Repairs will address aesthetic and water seepage issues raised by Ald. Pat Dowell and local community members.
The Orange Line had more than 8.8 million station entries in 2013 and connects the Chicago Loop with Midway International Airport.
Project funding for the 18th Street Connector project is a mix of Illinois Department of Transportation funds and local tax-increment financing (TIF) made available through Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now program.
Project work, will require weekend-only temporary suspension of rail service between the Roosevelt and Halsted stations over five weekends between mid-April and early June.
The first track closure is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Friday, April 18 and will conclude prior to the start of service at 4 a.m. Monday, April 21. The CTA will provide free bus shuttle service between Halsted and Roosevelt during the period train service is suspended for each of the five weekends.
The Harrison station and Orange Line infrastructure projects were announced late last summer by Mayor Emanuel as part of a $92 million transportation investment on the Near South Side, including the new Cermak/McCormick Place Green Line station currently under construction, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) improvements to Roosevelt Road and a new auxiliary entrance at the Roosevelt CTA station.