05/20/2013 11:30 am ET Updated May 20, 2013

Red Line Shutdown: CTA Commuters Get First Weekday Test Of Reconstruction Project

The CTA's five-month-long shutdown of service on the Red Line between the 95h Street/Dan Ryan and Cermak/Chinatown stations got its first rush hour commute test Monday morning -- and the results, as expected, were mixed.

Service between the stations was suspended at 2 a.m. Sunday as the agency prepared to essentially gut 10.2 miles of tracks and improve stations along the 40-year-old southern branch of the "L" train.

What was the verdict among South Side Red Line riders? Largely positive, according to most reports.

DNAinfo Chicago reports most commuters they spoke with were allowing extra time to make their trip toward the Loop and one commuter was surprised to learn the CTA's shuttle buses will be free for the duration of the reconstruction. Other commuters admitted the repairs have "been a long time coming."

(Visit the CTA's website dedicated to the Red Line reconstruction for updated information or scroll down to learn more about alternate service in our survival guide.)

Still, there was some confusion. One commuter told Fox Chicago he knew the closure was coming but didn't know exactly when it was beginning. Another told NBC Chicago the alternate service was "not reliable."

Meanwhile, CTA board chairman Terry Peterson said Monday, "So far, so good. Can't complain" about the repairs, the Chicago Tribune reports.

When the work is done in October, commute times between the 95th/Dan Ryan stop and Roosevelt are expected to be 20 minutes faster. The agency deemed the service cut the better choice compared to a four year-long, weekend-shutdown-only option for the $425 million reconstruction project — the largest overhaul project in CTA history.

CTA Red Line Shutdown