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CTA's $500 Million Blue Line Renovation To Begin Next Month

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The CTA will be getting an early start on a four-year project to completely overhaul the O'Hare branch of the Blue Line.

Starting in less than a month, crews will begin weekend-only closures of parts of the Blue Line, to begin work replacing tracks between downtown and O'Hare International Airport. The project originally was set to begin sometime this summer.

Starting March 21, the CTA will begin temporary weekend closures between 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Monday for the initial track work, starting at the California 'L' station. Temporary weekend closures will continue through August along various parts of the Blue Line.

The $492 million project will be the first renovation for the O'Hare branch in 30 years, and should reduce the trip between O'Hare and downtown by 10 minutes. It also should improve capacity and reliability for a line that has seen a 25 percent growth in weekday ridership over the past five years.

The project will replace the 12 miles of track between the Grand subway station and the O'Hare terminal. The Grand, Chicago, Division, and Logan Square subway, and the California and Damen 'L' stations will be renovated, and the Jefferson Park bus terminal will get a makeover.

The Western stop, which was rebuilt in 2001, will get some new public art, a new entrance plaza, and renovations to the north and south stairs.

The Addison stop along the Kennedy Expressway will get a new elevator, and platforms will be repaired.

Other stations also will get needed repairs.

All work should be completed by the end of 2018.

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