CTA to Use ‘Stimulus Funds’ for Slow Zone Project in Dearborn Subway

CHICAGO — The Chicago Transit Authority Board approved a $56.6 million contract for renewal of approximately 36,000 feet of track in the Blue Line Dearborn subway. Funding for the work is being provided by “stimulus funds.”

The work will remove the existing slow zones and help prevent the creation of new slow zones in the Dearborn subway. In 2007 and 2008, CTA eliminated 6,336 feet of slow zones in the Blue Line subway between the Damen and Clark/Lake stations.

“The allocation of stimulus funding comes at a critical time for CTA as the agency needs funding to maintain an aging infrastructure,” said CTA President Rich Rodriguez. “This project will create approximately 400 jobs locally over the course of the work and will allow the agency to continue its efforts to upgrade and modernize the system.”

In the summer of 2007, the CTA began an aggressive plan to eliminate slow zones throughout the system. At its peak, slow zones existed on 22.3 percent — or 263,526 feet of the rail system. Today, slow zones occupy 8.5 percent or 100,188 feet of track. The CTA rail system contains approximately 1,183,248 feet of track — the equivalent of 224.1 miles.

CTA eliminated slow zones in the Red Line subway last fall and on the O’Hare branch of the Blue Line. Work to eliminate and prevent slow zones continues along the Brown and Red lines.

Slow zones are created due to deteriorating track conditions resulting in trains having to operate at speed restrictions.  Work to reduce slow zones includes replacing wood rail ties and old tie plates and replacing track.

Kiewit-Reyes, A Joint Venture was awarded the contract through a competitive bid. Work is expected to begin in mid-April.