Left: Older track components are removed to make way for the new as part of the Chicago Transit Authority's Dearborn Subway Track Renewal project. 39,000 feet of aging track were replaced according to CTA. (Photos courtesy of CTA)
The city’s Blue Line Dearborn Subway had been plagued by “slow zones”— sections of track beyond normal service life that required train speeds to be sharply restricted in these areas, in some cases down to as little as 6 mph. Replacing seven miles of track in these slow zones has significantly improved travel time and safety on this major commuter line.
The $88 million track replacement project began in April 2009 and was carried out in three phases by Kiewit-Reyes, a joint-venture between two major contractors, the Reyes Group and Kiewit Western Co. In the first two phases, 20,000 feet of track was replaced between the Division Street and Grand Street stations. The final phase focused on refurbishing 19,000 feet of track between Clark/Lake Street and UIC-Halsted Street stations. All work was completed at the end of 2009, allowing trains to resume normal speeds of up to 55 mph.
Prior to the Recovery award, funding constraints had severely limited track maintenance and repair, CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez said. “The replacement of track and rail ties in the Dearborn subway as a result of the stimulus program has allowed trains to resume normal speeds and prevent emerging slow zones in the future.” Rodriguez added, “Riders are traveling faster and more comfortably as the track replacement creates a smoother ride."
Kiewit-Reyes hired six subcontractors for various aspects of the project, including electrical work, trucking, materials, supplies, and track testing.
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