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Newly Renovated Grand Avenue Red Line Stop Unveiled

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Grand Station

The newly renovated Grand Avenue Red Line stop was unveiled Tuesday. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The CTA Red Line subway station at Grand Avenue and State Street is the latest to undergo a top-to-bottom renovation.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool were on hand for the unveiling of the upgraded station.

The station serves the fashionable neighborhoods of River North and Streeterville and the southern part of the Magnificent Mile. But in recent years, it had grown run down, dark and not especially clean.

But the station has undergone a complete rehabilitation over the past several years. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says plans are also now underway for a new Green Line station at Cermak Road, and a new station at Washington and Wabash on the Loop ‘L,’ as well as a complete rehab of the Clark and Division station, two stops north from the Grand station in the Red Line subway.

“Having world-class infrastructure is a key focus for any world-class city,” Mayor Emanuel said Tuesday. “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.”

The $73.6 million rehab project at the Grand Avenue station lasted three years. It upgraded a station that had been constructed in the early 1940s and had changed little since.

The renovations included a 2,100 square-foot expansion of the mezzanine level of the station, where fare boxes and turnstiles are located, so that more people can enter and exit the station. There are now 12 turnstiles at the station rather than eight.

The 1940s elevators and truss have been replaced with modern elevators and new escalators, and new electronic signage has been added. Electrical and communications systems have been upgraded, as have security and monitoring systems.

The $50 million Cermak Green Linen station will serve the South Loop and McCormick Place, and fill the 2 1/2-mile gap in stops between the Roosevelt and 35th-Bronzeville-IIT stations. Tax Increment Financing dollars are being used for the project.

The Clark and Division station upgrade will include the complete renovation of the current entrance and mezzanine at Clark Street, as well as a new one at LaSalle Boulevard and Division Street.

The Washington/Wabash station will actually mean the closure of two current stations. As was done on the Wells Street leg of the Loop ‘L’ several years ago, the stations on the Wabash Avenue leg at Randolph and Madison streets will close, and will be replaced with a new station just south of Washington Street.

This will mean visitors to the Chicago Cultural Center and the Expo 72 gallery, and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ theater on Randolph Street will have a longer walk to the ‘L.’ But the city points out the new Washington/Wabash station will meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and increase the platform capacity from a width of 7 feet 6 inches to a width of between 10 and 13 feet.

Back in October Mayor Emanuel also announced plans recently for a major upgrade to the Wilson Red Line ‘L’ stop in Uptown, which will include new elevators and a rehab of the exterior.

Federal funding has also been dedicated to upgrades at the Loyola Red Line stop in Rogers Park.

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