It's been three years in the making, though for River North commuters it probably felt longer.
On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially reopened the CTA Grand station after its $73.6 million makeover. New elevators and escalators were added, the public area was expanded and new security systems were installed
The project began well before Emanuel took over for Richard Daley, but the current mayor aims to put his own touches on the transit system.
In addition to unveiling the new Grand stop, Emanuel announced plans to build a new Wabash-Washington station on the Brown/Pink/Green lines beginning in April 2013 and a Cermak station on the Green Line to serve McCormick Place and the Near South Side. Construction on the Cermak stop is slated to begin by February 2013.
A $86.6 million rehabilitation project also will begin at the Clark and Division Red Line station, to be completed by March 2015. The four projects are expected to create about 4,000 new jobs.
“Having world-class infrastructure is a key focus for any world-class city,” said Emanuel in a statement. “These targeted and strategic investments in our infrastructure will allow Chicagoans and visitors to get around the city more easily, to jobs, businesses, and neighborhoods.”
It's all in addition to the CTA renewal project Emanuel and CTA president Forrest Claypool announced in September. As part of the project 100 rail stations will be cleaned, repaired and painted over the next year. It will partly be funded by savings gained from transit authority cuts.
"With this new Station Renewal program we'll have cleaner, brighter, more functional stations for CTA riders,” Emanuel said in September.
Crews of trade workers dubbed the ‘Renew Crew’ will focus on repairs as a team, Emanuel said, to create "a cleaner, brighter and more appealing station."