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Semi Crashes Onto Brand New Red Line Tracks on Eve of Rush Hour Debut

By Josh McGhee | October 21, 2013 9:04am
 The Red Line South branch reopened Sunday morning.
The Red Line South branch reopened Sunday morning.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

CHICAGO — On the eve of the first Monday morning commute for the newly renovated Red Line South branch, a truck barreled through a wall and crashed into the newly installed tracks, damaging them.

No one was hurt in the 9:45 p.m. Sunday jackknife crash on the Dan Ryan Expy. near 68th Street.

CTA officials said the crash caused damage and left debris on the track, forcing it to use one track between 69th and 79th streets for several hours. Normal operations resumed about 1:45 a.m., CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said.

The damage didn't stop the Red Line from running Monday morning, the first weekday test for the new tracks. The tracks will be repaired Monday night, the CTA said.

The southern extension of the Red Line was closed five months for a track overhaul and improvements to the stations. It reopened Sunday morning.

The reconstructed track features 60,000 new rail ties and 7.8 million pounds of new rail, as well as new cars. The improvements eliminate slow zones that plagued the southern portion of the route, CTA spokesman Steve Mayberry said.

The $425 million overhaul included about 10 miles of new tracks from the Chinatown/Cermak stop all the way south to 95th Street, with construction workers sprucing up all eight stations along the way.

The station upgrades include new electrical work, fresh paint and the installation of train-tracking screens. Wheelchair-accessible elevators have been installed at the stations at Garfield Boulevard, 63rd Street and 87th Street.