Rail

Chicago approves plan to modernize outdated signaling system

Posted on September 10, 2015

JeremyABrown
JeremyABrown

The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) board approved a contract to begin design work on the Ravenswood Loop Connector Signal Project to replace a 40-year-old signal system on tracks serving the Brown and Purple Line Express between Armitage and Merchandise Mart stations. The modern signal system will enhance CTA’s ability to move trains more efficiently and safely.

This signal project complements the historic Ravenswood Loop Connector Rehabilitation Project begun by Mayor Emanuel in 2013, which has significantly modernized century-old track structure and replaced deteriorated track components. The Rehabilitation Project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, and follows other Brown Line investments made in recent years.

“The Brown Line is one of our fastest growing lines, with ridership exploding more than 45 percent in the last 10 years,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “This is a key rail corridor that carries 700 trains each weekday, connecting people with jobs, education and opportunity. Mayor Emanuel has recognized the importance of making the necessary investments in our rail infrastructure to meet demand today and in the future as ridership continues to grow.”

The two Ravenswood Loop Connector projects combined will improve service to Brown and Purple Line Express customers on several fronts: modernizing tracks and structure that is more than 100 years old, and replacing a signal system installed in 1975 that is out of date and contributes to congestion issues that have developed from stronger-than-expected ridership growth on the Brown Line in the last decade.

These projects follow a number of rail investments made to improve service. Those include the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project, substantial traction power upgrades, Brown Line slow zone remediation and the Purple Line Express Track Improvement Project that began earlier this summer.

Customer impacts during the project are expected to be minimal, with much of the work occurring during off-peak hours.

The $32.6 million contract is being awarded to Ragnar Benson Construction LLC, following a Request for Proposals process. The contractor is expected to begin the design work for the signal project this fall. The project is expected to be completed by early 2018.

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