IRVING PARK — Construction crews will soon remove the broken escalator at the Irving Park Blue Line station’s Pulaski Road entrance.
The escalator, installed in 1970, has been out of commission since August 2017, said Jon Kaplan, a Chicago Transit Authority spokesperson. In the next few weeks construction crews are expected to close off the Pulaski entrance to replace the inoperable escalator with stairs.
“[The CTA] is pursuing state capital funding to support escalator repairs and improvements throughout the system, including the new escalator at this stop,” said a release from Ald. John Arena’s 45th ward office. “Because transit escalators are custom-made, specially designed and built for the unique spaces where they’re installed and the heavy use and weather they endure, they are expensive and require time to fabricate.”
A new, custom-designed escalator at the Irving Park station is estimated to cost around $1 million, Kaplan said.
Once the current escalator is removed temporary stairs will be installed. According to the alderman’s office the installation of these stairs is expected to be completed by mid-August.
Until then CTA train commuters will need to use the station’s main entrance and exit on Irving Park Road.
Additionally, bus commuters with connections on the #53 Pulaski bus will need to board and exit on the corner of Pulaski and Irving Park Road. And those using the #N53 Pulaski bus’ owl service can board and exit at the bus terminal on the north side of Irving Park Road, just east of the expressway overpass.
The escalator at the Irving Park entrance of the Blue Line station will still be operational during construction.
There are more than 160 escalators and more than 170 elevators across the ‘L’ system’s 145 stations — each one specially made for the place where they are installed, according to the CTA. A whole escalator typically weighs about 9 tons and move hundreds of people an hour which translates to hundreds of thousands of people being moved per year.