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Proposed Blue Line Upgrade Could See Tracks, Twelve Stops Renovated

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The long-term plan calls for extensive improvements between Clinton and Forest Park

While the northern arm of the Blue Line to O’Hare has seen substantial reinvestment over the past years, a plan to give the aging, 55-year-old Forest Park branch some much-needed attention is gaining momentum. A priority of the Chicago Transit Authority since 2013, the project calls for a new rail yard at the Forest Park end-of-the-line terminal plus track and station improvements stretching as far east as Clinton. Though still in the early planning stages, the scope of the renovations contains no less than twelve stops, many of which have seen little or no architectural upgrades in roughly 40 years.

It’s too early to say what the modernization project would cost and the extent of funding available to see the plan realized. Early estimates put the price tag somewhere between several hundred million and a billion dollars. Leah Mooney, the CTA's director of strategic planning and policy, tells Austin Weekly News that the extensive yard reconstruction at Forest Park and the challenging depth of the Clinton subway stop are behind its potentially high cost. Though no timeline has been set, the ambitious transit improvement plan will likely be completed in phases to minimize service disruptions.

More details regarding the CTA’s plans for the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line will be presented at an open house hosted by the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council. The public event is slated to take place today from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Altgeld Park Fieldhouse at 515 S. Washtenaw and will provide residents a chance to learn about the project and to provide feedback.