Wood Already Rotting At New CTA Brown Line Platforms

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two years after completing a $530 million project to rehab 18 CTA Brown Line stations – an overhaul that was supposed to last decades – some of the new platforms are already falling apart.

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the new platforms were supposed to last 100 years, but six years after the installation began, some are already rotting away.

Conditions are so bad at the Francisco station that the entire platform needs to have its boards replaced.

Keeping your balance on the jittery “L” is tough, but at the Brown Line’s Francisco station, riders on Monday said a walk on the wooden platform is even more of a challenge.

“Kind of like I am walking on an attic, like you can kind of feel it move a little bit,” Ravenswood Manor resident Meredith Garretson said.

“They are a little smooshy down like they are rotting away,” Albany Park resident Jo Slater said.

At the Francisco station, dozens of wooden planks are rotting, peeling apart and giving way — all just two years after the CTA completed a $530 million rehabilitation of 18 Brown Line stations.

It isn’t hard to illustrate the problem. Just placing a small amount of pressure on some of the boards with the heel of your foot and the wood gives way. Many women have been complaining that their high-heeled shoes get caught in the boards.

The CTA has already spent $350,000 to replace and weather seal the new boards at 14 stations, but it will have to spend about $175,000 more to completely shut down and reconstruct the Francisco platform starting next month.

“I kind of see the stuff underneath … and I see it kind of withering sometimes,” Garretson said.

The CTA basically said it has no one to blame but itself. To meet strict fire codes, it selected pre-treated pine planking that was fire retardant, but not weather sealed.

“There was no product that provided both the required fire rating and maximum weather preservative,” the CTA said in a written statement on Monday.

But in a city known for horrific winters, no sealant was ever applied to the platforms until problems started to surface for riders.

“Every once in a while, I forget where the spot is and I step on it and I go ‘don’t do that again,’ because I don’t want to go through the boards,” Slater said.

Of the 18 stations on the Brown Line north of the Loop, only three – Fullerton, Belmont and Western – have concrete platforms. The others all have wood.

  • tom Sharp

    How much did Daley’s nephew and other family members make on the lumber contract with the CTA?

    • LOTD


  • windontree

    Wonder Who turned down using the recycled composite lumber (like the ones used for decks) for these cheap planks? Follow the money.

  • wally

    me thinks someone sold the CTA lower grade wood so they would have a perpetual contract

  • ERR

    Those contractors need to be held accountable for their work. They take shortcuts, use bad materials, and do sloppy work in order to pocket as much money from the city contracts. The city, cta and other entiites turn the other way. Shame.

  • CFLC

    It’s all about the Money-Go-Round. The citizens will be paying while Daley and others are riding. Democratic City, Highest Gas in the country, Worst schools in the nation. It goes on and on and on and on. Keep voting silly people.

  • Circus of Chicago

    They must be the same temp workers that were hired to fix the pot holes. Oh Emanuel, save us!

  • http://topicshotnews.com/2011/08/wood-already-rotting-at-new-cta-brown-lineplatforms/ Wood Already Rotting At New CTA Brown Line Platforms

    […] Wood Already Decomposing At N&#1077w CTA Auburn Line Platforms […]

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