Chicago Transit Board approved the award of a contract for the Red Line South reconstruction, one of the largest reconstruction projects in the CTA’s history and a multimillion-dollar investment in both Chicago’s South Side and the backbone of the CTA rail system.
The project, which begins in spring 2013, will completely rebuild the 43-year-old Red Line South—including all track, ties, ballast and drainage systems—from Cermak/Chinatown to 95th Street.
Kiewit Infrastructure Corporation of Chicago submitted the lowest bid for the track work component of project at $220.1 million, and was found to be the most qualified. The bid was below project estimates, and the next lowest bidder was 20 percent higher than Kiewit’s submission.
“This was the first step toward giving South Side customers the Red Line they deserve and I look forward to successfully completing this project on time and on budget,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “By the end of 2013, we will provide our customers a south Red Line that is faster, smoother and better than it has been in decades.”
Kiewit also slightly exceeded the CTA’s target of 28 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation—reaching 29.3 percent—by engaging the services of 23 DBE subcontractors, more than 50 percent of which are based in Chicago.
The total DBE contact dollar amount is $66.5 million, with 60.6 percent going to African-American firms, 23.8 percent to Hispanic firms, 3.5 percent to Asian firms, and 12.1 percent to women-owned firms.
Since announcing the project in June, the CTA has worked diligently to make sure DBE subcontractors were aware of the Red Line South project—hosting four meet-and-greet sessions pairing potential prime contractors with more than 160 companies to ensure that prime contractors engaged with DBE firms that may qualify for and be interested in the work.
“We have said since the beginning of this effort that we would do everything we could to encourage DBE participation and have never wavered in our effort to make that a reality,” said Board Chairman Terry Peterson.
CTA is currently soliciting proposals for the station improvement portion of the project, which includes the renewal and improvement of the eight stations along the project footprint. Improvements will include three new elevators at the Garfield, 63rd and 87th Street stations, painting and lighting, bus bridge improvements, and new roofs and canopies at some stations. CTA has established a 40 percent DBE participation goal for station work.
The overall estimated budget for the project, including design, construction and additional CTA service, is $425 million. The project is part of more than $1 billion in federal, state and local funds being invested in the Red Line, the system’s busiest.
Over the past three months CTA has hosted three meetings to gather community input and our DBE meet-and-greet sessions, and held two job fairs. Another job fair is scheduled for Saturday, September 15, part of CTA’s efforts to fill as many as 400 part-time bus operator jobs needed for the expanded bus service during the five-month construction period.