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Transportation News: CTA Rushes To Finish Green Line Repairs; Condo Owners Angry Over Circle Interchange Plan

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 5, 2013 10:00PM

The Circle Interchange Could be widened, with some ramps inching feet away from homeowners. (Photo credit: nathanmac87)

The CTA’s massive Red Line south branch reconstruction project is six weeks away, but the transit agency is working to complete another project on the “L” system in order to be ready. Tribune transportation reporter John Hilkevitch reports CTA is working against the clock to complete track repairs and station upgrades on South Side Green Line stations to accommodate the increase in ridership that will come with shuttling Red Line riders via bus to the Green Line.

Hilkevitch wrote a temporary bus staging area is being built at Garfield with improved lighting and security cameras, the Ashland/63rd Street station is being temporarily expanded, signal work is being done on all stations south of Roosevelt to reduce slow zones and stations on the Green Line’s South branch are getting Train Tracker signs letting riders know when trains are approaching. In short: The Green Line is being modernized just enough to handle the added ridership during the Red Line south branch project.

It’s gonna be a long summer, South Siders.

Meanwhile, homeowners who live within a bird’s eye of the Circle Interchange are slightly concerned the reconstruction project slated for that major roadway will bring the Interchange’s new ramps too close to their homes. Residents of the Green Street Lofts complained the original plan called for a new ramp to be built a mere seven feet from their building. The Illinois Department of Transportation altered the location of the ramp so that it’s now 20-26 feet away but residents aren’t satisfied and are concerned about the noise from traffic and lower property values that would result from having an interstate ramp hanging by their homes. IDOT says the project and location of the ramp is necessary in order to rebuild the interchange to alleviate the congestion and bottlenecks that are a hallmark of driving on it.

There should be plenty of time to come to some resolution. IDOT still needs to secure state and federal funding; between the sequester and Illinois’ mess of a state budget that may take a while. A public hearing has been scheduled for April 17 for supporters and opponents of the four-year project to enter their comments into the public record.