CTA Red Line riders make do on first day of construction - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

CTA Red Line riders make do on first day of construction

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Transit officials said the first rush hour of Chicago Transit Authority's five-month Red Line construction project went smoothly Friday morning. Riders said it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be.

Monday is the first weekday of the $425 million project to rebuild the line on the city's South Side. No trains will run along the 10.2-mile stretch between Cermak-Chinatown and 95th Street until the project is complete.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said there's plenty of room on the free shuttle buses running the route. She says there have been no major disruptions.

Some Red Line service will be running in certain areas, but it will be rerouted onto Green Line tracks. White Sox fans can use Metra or the Green Line, which has a station a few blocks from U.S. Cellular Field.

Mayor Emanuel made an unscheduled stop at the Garfield Green Line stop Monday morning, to thank commuters for taking this big change in stride, so that the necessary improvements can be made.

"We're asking a lot of the commuters. We're asking a lot of the workers," Emanuel said. "But I think everyone is working together to do exactly what we need to do, to bring the Red Line into the 21st century."

The CTA encourages customers to follow @RedLineSouth on Twitter for updates.

Despite a year of warnings, there were still commuters like Josh and Jason Judd who seemingly forgot the CTA Red Line reconstruction project began Sunday morning.

"I knew it was closed but I didn't know when it was going to start," said Josh Judd.

"I had heard but I didn't think it was today. I thought it was another week it was going to be on, I said no, it's not closed for another week but surprise, surprise," said Jason Judd.

Jason Judd and his son Josh, like so many others, were greeted at the Cermak-Chinatown stop by a Chicago Transit Authority worker distributing these pamphlets filled with information on alternate services for Red Line riders, including free shuttle buses.

"They just said that you can take a shuttle bus down to Roosevelt and that would take you up to downtown," said Josh Judd.

"I think it's going to be a problem because it's going to last so long and I do take the Red Line a lot so I'm not as happy as him about it," said Jason Judd.

"I'm going to have to really be on top of planning things because I don't want to have to take cabs every time I'm running behind," said Josh Peterson.

The construction project includes replacing ties, rails, third rails and the drainage system.

"The Red Line itself has been in use for more than four decades, it was open when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, and the wear and tear in deterioration has led to almost half of the Red Line being so deteriorated that it's unsafe to run trains at more than 15 miles per hour," said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

CTA said the rebuilding of the Red Line South line will improve service.

"Your daily round trip commute from 95th street will be 20 minutes shorter and your rides will be faster, smoother and better than it's been in years," said CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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