Thursday, April 23, 2015

Year 3, Day 175: Six Months Later

Sad to say that six months after the completion of the substation, the entire western wall is covered with graffiti. There is more graffiti on the yellow control boxes and a smaller tag on the north wall. So much effort went into the building of the substation, using high-quality materials and skilled craftsmen, that it's heartbreaking to see how quickly it's been defaced. I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures, but i had to take them through the window of a moving Red Line train.

North wall
*** UPDATE 16 May 2015: I'm happy to report that the graffiti has been cleaned off of the building. Let's hope it stays graffiti-free!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Year 3, Day 1: 29 October 2014: Happy Anniversary, Substation!

Two years ago today, the substation project and this blog began. 
Although the major work has been finished since the end of July, it seems that there is always one more  detail in need of completion. Here's what's been done over the course of the past week and a half.

Saturday night, 18 October:

Tuesday, 21 October:


Thursday, 23 October: The "Building a New Chicago" sign is taken down.

Tuesday, 28 October:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Year 2, Day 354: 18 October 2014: They're Ba-a-a-a-ck!

My farewell to the substation crew was premature. Apparently, the CTA has added a thing or two to the honey-do list. And so, on this cold, damp weekend, the crew is back in full force, installing a drainage pipe at track level. I imagine that their thoughts on being back here again, are much like those expressed by Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part III

Here are a few action shots of today's activities. As you can see, this is another major production, involving a lot of heavy equipment and a large crew.

Postscript: Since the substation has to be finished eventually, i've started a new construction-related blog, Watching Other People Work. I don't expect to update it nearly as often as i've done with this one, but when i see an interesting construction or demolition site, i'll snap a few pictures and post them. The first post is on the work currently underway at the newly renamed Jane Byrne Interchange.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Year 2, Day 345: 9 October 2014: The End

It's hard to believe, but the substation project is finally complete, just twenty days short of the two-year mark. The grand finale was remarkably anticlimactic: I thought there would be a ribbon-cutting, or fireworks, or something, but no, the substation went on line without fanfare, sometime within the past few weeks. The last task was the completion of some simple landscaping. A layer of soil and mulch was added on top of the gravel bed, and then some low-growing ground cover was added today.  Finally, all the remaining equipment was removed from the site, with the exception of the work trailer--now empty--which i assume will be removed within the next day or so. 

When this project was first announced, i dreaded the thought of spending a couple of years living in the shadow of a loud, dirty, disruptive construction site. But then i reminded myself how much i've always enjoyed watching construction and demolition projects, and i realized what a unique opportunity this was to have a bird's-eye view of such a unique process. Once i made that mental shift, the whole thing became an adventure and a learning experience.  

This will, i imagine, be my last post on this blog. It's been a long and interesting journey. I've learned a lot from observing the building of the substation, but even more from the generosity of the crew, who seemed always ready to give me a few minutes of their time to explain some aspect of the job or email me to clear up anything that i was uncertain about. I'm especially grateful to the CTA for allowing me to go where no civilian has gone before--inside the sanctum sanctorum, the nearly finished substation--on the first of May. 

My other blogs--Ms. Demeanor's Photo du Jour, Dogs of Rogers Park, and Tattered Film Palace--are still more or less active, and i hope you'll drop by to visit me there. I suspect that at some point in the future i will go into withdrawal and feel the need to start up another construction-related blog, but for now at least, i'm taking off my hardhat and saying toodle-oo.  

The landscapers

Loading up the last few pieces of equipment 

One final picture of the last few guys on the job 

The top of the wall complete with a little greenery.

At the end of the day, all that remains of the work site is the empty trailer.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Year 2, Day 333: 27 September 2014: Finishing the Retaining Wall

On Friday morning, the wooden forms were removed from the new section of wall.

And here is the finished wall, photographed on Saturday evening. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Year 2, Day 329: 23 September 2014: The Return of the Cement Truck

It's been a while since there's been this much action at the substation. The wooden forms were all in place first thing this morning, and the concrete truck soon arrived to pour the new upper section of the wall at the north end of the site. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Year 2, Day 324: 18 September 2014: Another Brick in the Wall

These two gentlemen are involved in extending the concrete wall at the corner of Farwell and Glenwood, and they took a few minutes to explain to me what they are doing. The wooden forms give an indication of how high the finished wall will be. They told me that there will be some plants added to the small triangle of ground at the top of the wall. I put in my request for a peach tree, but i doubt that there will be anything quite so elaborate as that. Thanks for posing, guys!