CTA California Blue Line to shut down in late March for reconstruction

By Shawn Gakhal
The $492 million project plan called “Your New Blue,” set to revamp the CTA Blue Line system from the Grand to O’Hare stations, is set to be underway March 21 with the California station first in line to get a fresh makeover.
CTA riders are being asked to take a temporary shuttle bus service and to add an extra 10-20 minutes in their commute time in anticipation of the California Blue Line being rehabbed between the dates of March 21 through 24.
Last December, the almost half billion dollar CTA transit proposal was unveiled, as the city planned to rehab more than 13 Blue Line stops from March to August.
Heritage stops like California and Damen will see an improvement, but not too much of the aforementioned lines will, necessarily, change.
Robert Wittmann, CTA vice president of construction, explained that both sites were historic, by telling the Chicago Tribune, “We had to work very closely with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to make sure our design conforms with the historic nature of those properties.”
The plan is supposed to improve reliability, travel times and customer experience, particularly for those who ride the train daily.
Roosevelt University Sophomore Jackie Rosato takes the El to Kedzie and said that she “wouldn’t be affected by the project.”
Rosato explained that it was a good idea but that people would have to make concessions in order to keep their schedules on track.
“I guess it’s a good idea, because it’s been a long time since it’s been redone,” Rosato said. “But it is going to be such a hassle for everyone who takes it. I know I get mad when I have to redo my whole schedule around this to get to where I need to go, especially if I use it every day. It will take up a lot of time and effort for some people to work their schedules around the [reconstruction].”
While the CTA announced its plan last year, the news didn’t reach everyone, including one Ashley Soto — a junior at Roosevelt — who seemed surprised at the news.
“Wow, I mean that’s my stop, and it’s the most convenient stop for me,” Soto said. “I don’t know why, but I haven’t heard about that going on.”
The CTA plans to work over the course of 10 weeks from now until August.
Soto said that it didn’t matter when the trains were under construction, but it was what they were exactly restricting, which is her chance to get an education.
“I really don’t take it on the weekends, so that wouldn’t really affect me,” Soto said.

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