You may drive less as part of your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint. However, commuting from downtown to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport by public transportaiton is somewhat more complicated than usual, and will continue to be so for much of the summer. A major renovation project that the CTA has dubbed "Your New Blue" will involve track work and station closures during weekends on the Blue Line through early August. The project is designed to eliminate slow zones along the busy line, which not only accommodates local commuters and leisure passengers, but also provides direct public transit service between the airport and downtown Chicago.
The first station closures took place during the weekend of March 21, when stations between Logan Square and Western were closed. On weekends during the month of April stations between Western and Damen will be closed; from May through August, stations between Logan Square and Western will experience weekend closures. No station closures relating to the project took place during the weekend of March 29, although the O'Hare station was closed for repairs due to an earlier rail accident.
Station closures will begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday and continue through 4:00 a.m. on Monday. Free shuttle buses will provide 24-hour service between closed stations, making stops only at or near the locations of closed train stations. The specially commissioned buses will be clearly marked and fully accessible. Passengers with disabilities, parents with children in strollers, travelers with luggage and any passenger with heavy parcels are advised to ride the shuttle for the entire route between closed stations to minimize the need to climb and descend stairs.
The project will involve track work and infrastructure improvements for the Milwaukee Elevated, the Dearborn Subway and the Kimball subway. In addition, stations from Grand through Cumberland will undergo improvements ranging from complete renovation to platform enhancement and installation of public art. The stations range in age from Damen and California, which were constructed in the 1890s to several stations constructed and renovated in the 1970s to the 1980s.