12/05/2013 04:21 pm ET

Blue Line Renovation Project To Be 4-Year-Long, Nearly Half-Billion Dollar Facelift For O'Hare Branch

Another Chicago 'L' line is getting a massive revamp, this time for the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials announced a nearly half-billion dollar, four-year renovation plan for the CTA Blue Line’s O’Hare branch on Thursday. The $492 million project, called "Your New Blue," will tackle track and station improvements between the Grand station in River North and the Cumberland station near O'Hare International airport.

The improvements are expected to shave 10 minutes off travel time between O'Hare and the Loop, according to CBS Chicago. Additionally, WGN reports the project will bring continuous 4G cell service to trains along the O’Hare branch.

The Forest Park branch of the Blue Line, which has the second-highest ridership system-wide after the Red Line, will not be affected. According to Emanuel's statements, the section of the Blue Line between Jefferson Park and Grand is the fastest-growing segment in the system.

Unlike the recently-completed Red Line renovation project that completely shut down service for six months between on the Dan Ryan branch of the line from Cermak/Chinatown to 95th, the Blue Line service shutdowns will be intermittent, likely on weekends, RedEye reports. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.

“Like the Red Line South project we just completed on time and within budget, this Blue Line plan is far-reaching and long overdue, and will help meet increasing demand,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This plan represents a huge investment in CTA riders and visitors traveling to Chicago via O’Hare and many vibrant communities along the North and Northwest Sides. It’s also part of our latest efforts to modernize our transit system for the 21st century.”

The project, which kicks off at a yet-to-be-determined date in early 2014, is being funded by a mix of city, state and federal dollars.



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