Friday, October 05, 2012

CTA unveils Wilson Station plan

The Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) unveiled the design renderings for the planned reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station, one of the largest CTA 'L' station projects in the agency's history.

The $203-million reconstruction project, slated to begin in 2013, will create a brand-new, reconfigured station to serve the CTA's busiest rail line and facility that will serve as an anchor for economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.

"This is a great starting point for the future design of an important station that helps thousands of Chicagoans get to work and school each day," said Chicago Mayor Emanuel. "The Red Line is the backbone of our transportation network and this new station will drive economic activity throughout the city for years to come."

The new station design features contemporary architecture including glass and steel canopies and a glass-enclosed entrance along Wilson, one of two Wilson entrances. An auxiliary entrance is planned for Sunnyside Avenue, serving a newer commercial development housing Target and Aldi stores.

The project also includes significant track and signal system improvements near the station, as well as structural and viaduct work.

The Wilson Reconstruction project is part of CTA's Red Ahead program, a $1-billion comprehensive initiative to maintain, modernize and expand the Red Line. Collectively, these projects are part of Mayor Emanuel's Building a New Chicago program, which is updating infrastructure that's critical to the city and includes improvements that will help ensure that CTA continues to serve customers as effectively as possible.

The new Wilson station will replace the badly deteriorated station that was built in 1923 and will result in a completely rebuilt, modern and accessible transfer station between the Red and Purple lines, the only transfer station on the Red Line between the Howard and Belmont stations.

The current scope of work will include restoration of the terra cotta exterior from the historic 1923 Gerber Building at the corner of Wilson and Broadway; a rebuilt stationhouse with elevators and other modern amenities; and new transfer platforms.

The reconstruction will also improve the appearance and pedestrian environment on Broadway and Wilson by removing some 'L' structure support columns from both the street and sidewalk.

Demolition work is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2013 with construction continuing through 2015.

Most of the project funding ($170 million) comes from the Illinois Jobs Now! program, with additional funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration and tax-increment financing.

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