CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 100,000 Chicago Public Schools students would have to find a new way to get to class starting next week, once the CTA shuts down the south end of the Red Line for a major track overhaul.
According to the CTA, 98,000 students at 370 CPS schools would be affected by the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line, which is set to begin on Sunday.
The Sun-Times reported another dozen Catholic schools on the South Side also have students who would be affected.
The project is set to last five months, and for much of that time CPS will be on summer break – between late June and August 26.
The CTA and CPS have been trying to get the word out to students and parents about the Red Line project so they can make alternative transportation plans.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the project will be an inconvenience for riders, but it has to be done.
“Yes, there are some people who are asking why. We’ve, of course, explained to them that this is a 44-year-old railroad,” he said.
Steele said not everyone would be negatively impacted by the Red Line work.
“Some commuters on the Green Line will actually see a quicker commute during the construction than they see during non-construction times, because we will have significantly added service for … both the Green Line trains and the Red Line trains that will be using the Green Line track.”
The Red Line will be shut down south of the Roosevelt station starting Sunday. Service south of Roosevelt will be shifted to Green Line tracks. The CTA will be providing free express shuttle buses from the closed Red Line stations at the 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th street stations directly to the Green Line station on Garfield Boulevard.
The CTA will not charge riders who board the Green Line at Garfield throughout the Red Line project.
There will also be free shuttle buses connecting the five Red Line stations between 95th Street and 63rd Street every day from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. A local “Owl Service” shuttle will also connect the six stations between Garfield and 95th street between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Further, the CTA is doubling from 100 to 200 the number of buses operating in the areas served by the Red Line, and offering a 50 cent discount on those routes during the entirety of the project.