The $425 million project will replace and rebuild Red Line tracks from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan. The project will take five months.
Terry Peterson, chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, said officials are starting prepare commuters now so they can make alternative plans before the construction starts later this spring.
“Time waits for no one,” he said. “Spring is rapidly approaching. As we move forward we will continue to keep the community informed both before and during the work.”
T. Forrest Claypool, president of the CTA, said the Red Line is the backbone of the system so the disruptions will be significant. One-third of all CTA customers use the Red Line, he said. The finished project will provide customers with a faster commute, by approximately 20, and will make trains more consistent overall, he said.
The project also will include repairs to stations.
Nancy Lipman, Chicago police commander in charge of transportation, said police will patrol shuttle bus stations and train stations where commuters are re-routed.
“Conditions will be monitored on a daily basis to ensure the safety of customers,” she said.
Red line trains will now be running on Green Line tracks to 63rd & Ashland. Shuttles will be bringing commuters to the Garfield Green Line stop where they will have free entry. The CTA has also teamed up with Metra to offer “bundle” packages for riders of both.
“Red Line South has been the ‘work horse’ of our system,” said Peterson, noting that it is the only part of the system that has seen a major decrease in ridership.
Megan Ammer and Sofia Spaniolo contributed to this story.