Throughout 2021, work to enhance the region’s transit system continued with 80 capital projects underway across CTA, Metra, and Pace that translated to $7.16 billion worth of investment.
The RTA provides Project Management Oversight to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. “Our goal is to be efficient stewards of funding,” said Violet Gurgul, PMO Division Manager, who presented the latest PMO report to the RTA Board in December. All 80 projects are within budget. Of the 57 state-funded projects, 91 percent are on schedule despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects will upgrade and maintain transit infrastructure, as well as enhance customer experience, safety, and security.
Projects highlighted in the December 2021 report include:
CTA: Austin Station
- Expected completion: January 2024
- Budget: $26.5 million
CTA is beginning work on the renovation and expansion of the stationhouse at Austin Boulevard. The Green Line Austin station is part of CTA’s All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP).
The project will include an ADA compliant ramp between the street level and the stationhouse, add an elevator connecting the stationhouse to the platform, remove an existing escalator to accommodate a larger platform for wheelchair accessibility, and the installation of new sidewalks, curb ramps, accessible parking, and crosswalks.
The project will also renovate and expand the Mason Avenue stationhouse, reopen its exit and stairs to the platform, and add new signage, security cameras, and lighting upgrades.
The Austin stationhouse is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, so the project includes hiring an architecture consultant to help preserve the station’s historic nature.
Metra: Union Pacific North Line Bridges
- Expected completion: May 2028
- Budget: $162.1 million
Metra is starting the design for the replacement of 11 century-old bridges on the Union Pacific (UP) North Line from Cornelia Avenue southward to Fullerton Avenue, and the rehabilitation of the Addison Street bridge. While still safe to use, these bridges are over 100 years old, show signs of increased deterioration, and have exceeded their lifespan. This project is a continuation of previous efforts to replace aging bridges on the UP-North Line. The northern bridges were fully replaced in the first phase of this project, which was completed in September of 2021. These new bridges are built to last for another century, which will increase both reliable service and safety.
Pace: ADA Technology Upgrades and Transfer Centers
- Expected Completion: December 2022
- Budget: $4.2 million
Pace has acquired land for a new ADA transfer center in Schaumburg. The former USPS site will be adjacent to the Northwest Transportation Center and will provide connections to fixed‐route services in addition to ADA paratransit services. Additionally, ADA‐related improvements will be completed, including technology updates to enhance access for customers.
The RTA and Service Boards are committed to creating a more accessible, safe, and equitable transit system for the six counties of Northeastern Illinois.
The financial need to modernize the region’s robust transportation network exceeds the funding available. The 2022 Regional Transit Budget identifies priority projects for the future, many of which remain unfunded. The RTA will continue to collaborate with its partners to advocate for sustainable transportation funding solutions.
In its efforts to increase transparency around transportation investments, the RTA publishes a PMO report twice a year. Read the June 2021 report, spotlighted on the agency’s blog six months ago. To keep up to date with what’s happening in transit locally, subscribe to the Connections blog.
For more information and data about transit projects and studies happening in Chicago, search RTAMS (Regional Transportation Authority Mapping and Statistics) at https://www.rtams.org/transit-projects-and-studies.