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New Washington-Wabash CTA station races towards Labor Day opening date

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The Loop’s upcoming Calatrava-esque ‘L’ stop has been under construction for more than two years

Chicago Transit Authority

After closing in March of 2015 for extensive renovations, the Loop’s Washington-Wabash ‘L’ station is racing towards a late summer reopening. According to city officials, the $75 million construction project—financed entirely by federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds—is still on track to meet its Labor Day deadline. Replacing a station that was originally completed in 1896, the updated platform will feature recycled materials, LED lighting, and full ADA compliance.

While the new structure’s white undulating spine-like canopies are reminiscent of the work of starchitect Santiago Calatrava, the downtown project comes from EXP—a design and engineering firm that announced its move from its Toronto headquarters to Chicago back in February. The firm is also behind Bronzeville’s 35th Street pedestrian bridge and the upcoming CTA Red Line terminal complex at 95th Street scheduled to open at the end of 2018.

CTA/EXP
CTA/EXP

Though the shops lining Jewelers Row below the ‘L’ station have done their best to remain open throughout the two plus years of construction, business owners are looking forward to the removal of scaffolding. While the unsightly barriers are expected to come down at the end of July, DNAinfo reports that the work forced some merchants to close and relocate.

Once completed, the station will be a “new gateway to Millennium Park.” The CTA estimates that the Washington-Wabash station will see roughly 13,000 riders per day, making it one of the busiest stations in the system.