Makeover of five CTA Blue Line stations complete

(CHICAGO) Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed off the newly renovated Addison Blue Line station Monday and reiterated his pledge to shave 10 minutes off the commute between downtown and O’Hare Airport by the time additional work on the line is completed in 2018.

Addison was one of five CTA Blue Line stations to get facelifts that included new lighting, paint, platform canopies and benches, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. An elevator was also installed at Addison for customers with disabilities. The Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem and Cumberland stations also received makeovers.

The Jefferson Park, Grand, Division, Chicago and Belmont stations are slated for improvement over the next several years, although start dates are yet to be finalized.

The renovations are part of a $507 million Blue Line reconstruction project that includes key track repairs to a stretch of century-old rails between the Logan Square and Damen stops.

The track improvements, along with yet-to-be-completed signal upgrades, will result in big time saving for riders, Emanuel said.

“We’re going to take about 10 minutes off the ride between the airport and downtown and downtown and the airport,” he said.

The trip when the project was announced in 2013 averaged between 45 and 50 minutes.

The Blue Line is ridden about 80,000 times each weekday between Grand and O’Hare. The line’s ridership has increased 25 percent over the past five years, outpacing the growth of the rail system as a whole, CTA President Dorval Carter said at a news conference with the mayor and several aldermen held at the Addison station.

Ald. John Arena (45th) expressed gratitude to CTA workers who put themselves in danger to get the job done.

“We did have an accident here,” he said. “Pearl Hendrix was a CTA worker who, in a tragic accident, lost her life here at this station, and it just illustrates they do this work a lot of time without the acknowledgment of the danger that they’re working on an active train line to keep this up and running for the city without full closures.”

Hendrix, 40, was working as a flagman when she was electrocuted in June after falling on the tracks near the Addison platform.

© Copyright 2016 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.