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Red Line South Reconstruction To Be Completed In Five Weeks

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Red Line South reconstruction project is entering the final stretch, with opening day scheduled in just five weeks.

Not only is it looking like a railroad at the north and south ends of the line, the CTA is running test trains as well, using six cars intentionally left in the yard adjacent to the 95th Street terminal when the line was shut down in April.

“As we turn the system back on, especially the signal system, it’s a very incremental effort to make sure that we turn it on, and all of those components work, and that we’re bringing back a safe and faster and improved railroad,” CTA Chief Infrastructure Officer Chris Bushell said.

The roadbed beneath the rails has been completely replaced, requiring the movement of 200,000 tons of crushed rock — known as ballast — in each direction. Riders also should experience a smoother ride, because of the use of welded rail, instead of rail jointed every 39 feet.

Elevators are being installed at the 87th, 63rd and Garfield stations, the only three Red Line south stations that lacked them.

Reopening of the line is expected no later than Oct. 19.