Officials broke ground Monday on the Chicago Transit Authority’s reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station.
The Uptown stop’s $203 million makeover is the largest undertaking in CTA’s history and is expected to create more than 550 city jobs before its completion in the fall of 2017.
“A 21st century transportation infrastructure system is crucial to Illinois’ economic comeback and our position as a hub of the Midwest,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. “This investment in Chicago’s most travelled rail line is part of our comprehensive approach to improving and expanding our rail infrastructure, driving Illinois’ economy forward and creating thousands of jobs across our state.”
The project will re-route 2,200 feet of elevated tracks to give commuters a new transfer point for Red and Purple Line trains, making Wilson station the only transfer between Howard and Belmont stations.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the Red Line the "backbone of our transportation network."
The overhaul is also set to modernize the stop's 91-year-old interior and exterior and surrounding street's appearance complete with contemporary architecture, three station entrances housed under glass and steel canopies, new escalators, wider stairwells and public artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Cecil Balmond.
The Wilson station is scheduled to remain open throughout its 34-month reconstruction.
“Rebuilding the Wilson station is a critical component to rejuvenating the Red Line,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “A revitalized Wilson station will strengthen the historic Uptown neighborhood with an attractive, modern station that provides improved transit options and connections for CTA customers and generates new retail and related economic development for the vibrant Uptown neighborhood.”