The Chicago Transit Authority announced Monday that its entire South Side Red Line branch -- from the Cermak-Chinatown 22nd Street station to the 95th Street station -- will be closed for five months -- and $425 million -- worth of renovations beginning in spring 2013.
The Chicago Tribune reports that, in order to still provide service to its riders that rely on the nine closed South Side stations, the agency will provide free shuttle bus services to the Green Line.
CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan noted to the Tribune that the renovations are much needed along the Red Line's Dan Ryan branch as slow zones are currently in effect for 40 percent of the 10-mile stretch.
Still, CTA Chairman Terry Peterson admitted that the agency is aware that the closings will "have an impact on our customers," NBC Chicago reports. About 80,000 riders use the South Side branch of the Red Line daily.
The relatively fast timetable for the vast project is expected to save the agency about $75 million over a plan that would have retained some service along the branch, according to CBS Chicago.
By the time the project is finished, CTA officials say the ride along the branch should be about 10 minutes shorter than it currently is, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The CTA's announcement was not good news for the Chicago White Sox. Despite a strong season thus far, the South Side team has had problems coming anywhere near filling its U.S. Cellular Field, located next to the 35th Street station.
Meanwhile, the CTA -- as well as Metra -- saw a large bump in ridership in the first quarter of 2012, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association.
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