The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced the next major step in Chicago's transformational Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM) by selecting three qualified contracting teams to develop proposals to design and build the first phase of the project, which will significantly modernize, improve and increase rail service in Chicago.
The CTA operates eight surface and subway light rail rapid transit lines, known to locals as the "L", over 224.1 miles of track reaching out from the Loop to Chicago's neighborhoods and surrounding towns.
As part of a two-step procurement process begun in June 2017 with the issue of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Based on the qualifications received, the CTA selected the three contracting teams that demonstrated the ability to design and build RPM Phase One: Walsh Fluor Design-Build Team, Chicago Rail Constructors and Kiewit Infrastructure Company.
The first phase of RPM will rebuild four of the oldest Red Line stations (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr) and make them fully accessible to people with disabilities and completely reconstruct 1.3 miles of adjacent track structure.
RPM Phase One also includes the construction of a rail bypass to unclog a 100-year-old junction where Red, Purple and Brown Line trains currently intersect—allowing CTA to significantly increase the number of trains it can run along the Red Line to reduce overcrowding and meet growing demand for transit service.
“We’re pleased to make good progress on getting closer to building this project and fulfilling our promise to improve rail service on the Red Line, our busiest line,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “It is critical that we find the most qualified builders in the industry to construct this project, which is one of the biggest modernization projects in CTA history.”
The entire RPM plan, to be completed in multiple phases, will rebuild part of CTA’s Red and Purple lines, sections of which are more than a century old. The tracks, structures and stations are well past their useful lifespan, and can no longer handle additional trains to meet the increasing demands of growing ridership – which is up 40 percent during the rush hours since 2008.
The RPM project is among more than $8 billion of transit investment announced, under way or completed by Mayor Emanuel since 2011, including the mayor’s “Red Ahead” program, a series of projects to improve the Red Line.
With the final three contractor teams selected, CTA will now issue a Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to invite the potential bidders to submit proposals on how they would design and build RPM Phase One. The proposals will be considered on a variety of criteria, including experience, price and other factors. CTA expects major construction of this project to begin in 2019.
The first phase of RPM is expected to create 5,700 construction jobs. CTA will host numerous outreach events to encourage participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-certified firms and other minority owned firms that wish to participate in the project. Additionally, the project RFP will include a community-based workforce development component.