A plan to extend Chicago’s Red Line train is advancing as the Chicago Transit Authority shortlisted three design-build teams for the $3.6-billion project, and city planning commissioners adopted a development plan designed to accommodate the extension. 

After issuing a request for qualifications last fall, CTA announced this month that it had issued invitations to submit proposals to FH Paschen, Ragnar Benson, Milhouse and BOWA joint venture; Kiewit Infrastructure; and Walsh VINCI Transit Community Partners. 

CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said in a statement that the teams include “the best and most qualified firms to ultimately build this dream and make it a reality.”

The RFP includes “aggressive workforce goals” including a requirement for significant participation by certified disadvantaged business enterprises, according to CTA. The proposals are due early next year and CTA expects to start major construction in late 2025.

map.pngThe project would extend CTA's Red Line 5.6 miles into Chicago's Far South Side. Map courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority


The plan calls for the Red Line to be extended 5.6 miles from the 95th Street terminal into the Far South Side. Four accessible stations would be added at 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue and 130th Street. The plan also includes construction of a railcar storage and maintenance facility.

CTA says the Red Line is its most traveled rail line. 

The Chicago Plan Commission adopted the Red Line Extension Transit-Supportive Development plan May 18. The plan sets a guide for economic development in the area around the future Red Line expansion, with an eye for increasing residential development, as well as recommendations for commercial, retail and mixed-use developments, public space and encouraging job creation. 

The plan “is reflective of the input of local residents and business owners and lays out a strategy for balanced and responsible development that brings local economic vitality and supports efforts to foster population growth of the surrounding communities,” Carter said in a statement. 

In December, the city council voted to establish a tax-increment financing district that is expected to generate about $959 million to help fund the Red Line Extension project. Creation of the district also allows officials to seek federal funding. CTA notes that the planned construction state still depends on fully funding the work.