Photo courtesy David Wilson
he Chicago Transit Authority
(CTA) board approved the award of a $25.6 million design/build contract for the rehabilitation of the Damen, Western and California stations as part of the “Your New Blue” project to improve and upgrade the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line
The board also approved contracts for artists to develop unique artwork for each station that reflects the neighboring community and will beautify the stations for customers’ enjoyment.
The station work is part of the $492 million Your New Blue plan announced in December by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn — the largest comprehensive investment for the Blue Line since it was extended to O’Hare in 1984.
Part of Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program to improve and modernize infrastructure, the project includes several track and station improvement projects along a 12.5-mile stretch of the Blue Line O’Hare Branch between the Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O’Hare stations.
The Damen, Western and California stations were originally constructed nearly 120 years ago and have undergone varying degrees of repairs over the years. Improvements will include exterior stationhouse restoration, such as painting, tuck-pointing, replacement of windows and doors, sidewalk repairs, and platform repairs or replacement.
After reviewing 100 responses to a Call for Artists issued in December for artistic merit and related qualifications, the CTA awarded contracts to three artists, two of which are local, to create public art.
The CTA this spring will host public meetings to gather community input into the artwork designs. Renderings of the proposed artwork will be made public later this year.
Federal Formula Funds provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be used to pay for the total art budget for the three stations, which is not to exceed $480,000, and includes costs associated with artist fees, fabrication, shipping/delivery, administrative fees and a project contingency fund.
Funding for Your New Blue is a combination of local, state and federal sources. The first projects of the four-year plan are expected to get under way in 2014. Project schedules are still being finalized, but the project is expected to begin with track work, following by station renovations, power upgrades and signal improvements.