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The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board yesterday approved a $32.6 million contract to Ragnar Benson Construction LLC to replace a 40-year-old signal system on a section of track along the Brown and Purple lines.Known as the Ravenswood Loop Connector Signal Project, the work calls for installing a modern signal system on tracks between the Armitage and Merchandise Mart stations, CTA officials said in a press release.The project will enable the agency to move trains more safely and efficiently, they said. Current signaling systems contribute to congestion issues that have developed along the Brown Line in the past decade, CTA officials said."The Brown Line is one of our fastest growing lines, with ridership exploding more than 45 percent in the last 10 years," said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. "This is a key rail corridor that carries 700 trains each weekday, connecting people with jobs, education and opportunity."Ragnar Benson will begin design work this fall. The project is expected to be completed by early 2018.The signaling work complements the Ravenswood Loop Connector Rehabilitation Project, which involved modernizing century-old track structure and replacing deteriorated track components. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel kicked off that project in 2013.Both the signaling and track projects are expected to spur service improvements along the Brown Line and the Purple Line Express, CTA officials said.
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