CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Red Line is getting a multibillion dollar facelift.

As part of the CTA’s Red/Purple Line Modernization project, a ground breaking ceremony took place Wednesday on the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr track.

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According to the city, the CTA begins reconstruction of 100-year-old stations, costing $2.1 billion

It also includes track structure between Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations to build fully accessible stations as part of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was joined by CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., Illinois U.S. Senator  Dick Durbin and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley.

They were on hand to break ground on the project, part of the CTA’s $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project.

According to the city, the new stations, which will open by the end of 2024, “will be modern, larger, and fully accessible stations that will include elevators, wider platforms, and other improved amenities.”

“The CTA is what ties our city together and has long connected our residents to jobs, education and opportunity,” said Mayor Lightfoot.

The mayor said it helps that U.S. Transportation Secretary (and former presidential candidate) Pete Buttigieg is aware of the infrastructure challenges of the area.

“We have a transportation secretary, who is a former mayor, Pete Buttigieg is one of the smartest people I know. I know he cares deeply about Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “I feel very confident that the circumstances are now right to get the funding that’s going to be necessary to make the Red Line Extension actually a reality”

The transportation agency will soon start on “Stage A and it is set to completed in late 2022. That’s when Stage B will start.”

Part of that will include reconstruction of the southbound Red and Purple Line tracks and four new stations.

“CTA customers will see a significant improvement in service with increased accessibility to rail service, less crowding on trains and rail platforms, and shorter commute times,” said CTA President Dorval Carter.

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“Phase One” work will finished in 2025. The new stations are set to open by the end of 2024.

“I have secured more than $1 billion in federal funding for the CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization program and I will continue to work with the Congressional Delegation to bring home the federal investments needed for the CTA to serve the people of Chicago,” Durbin said.

“CTA’s Red Purple Modernization, the largest capital investment project in CTA’s history, is an ambitious plan to meet the needs of a changing Chicago. As we emerge from the global pandemic, RPM is poised to not just improve our city’s transit but adapt to the new, post-pandemic world,” said Quigley.

Phase One includes:

• Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is a century old.

• New Red-Purple Bypass construction (expected completion in 2021); followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion by the end of 2024).

• Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability.

According to the CTA, the Red Line is busiest rail line, “historically providing more than 67 million rides a year and serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the U.S.”

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff