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Rail News: Passenger Rail

CTA unveils preferred alignment for Red Line extension

Rendering of the 103rd Street Station on the extension
Photo – Chicago Transit Authority


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) last week announced its preferred alignment for the proposed Red Line rail extension, which calls for extending the route from 95th Street to 130th Street.

The chosen route would begin at 95th Street and run along the west side of Union Pacific Railroad tracks from Interstate 57 to 109th Street. Then, the route would cross UP tracks and run along their east side until crossing the Metra Electric tracks near 119th Street.

From there, the route would continue south to 130th Street.

The preferred alignment is a hybrid of two previously considered alignments.
Source – Chicago Transit Authority

The 5.3-mile Red Line extension would include four stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue and 130th Street. Each new station would include bus and parking facilities.

The CTA chose the preferred alignment after taking into account public feedback, technical analysis and several other factors, agency officials said in a press release.

The alignment is expected to provide the benefits of a new rail service while minimizing the impact on local homes and businesses. Agency officials will host an open house Feb. 13 to present the route to the community.

The CTA will produce a final environmental impact study that will include additional preliminary engineering work, which is required before the agency can apply for more than $1 billion in federal funding. The extension would cost an estimated $2.3 billion.

CTA officials also expect to apply to the Federal Transit Administration for entry into the project development phase — a necessary step to pursue federal funding under the competitive "New Starts" program.

In October 2016, the agency published the draft environmental impact statement for the Red Line extension.