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Damen entrance at Illinois Medical District Blue Line station reopens

The entrances on Ogden and Paulina will be closed starting this Friday for construction

Three and a half years after it was first announced that the Illinois Medical District Blue Line station was slated to take on a thorough overhaul, the CTA has reopened one major entrance to the busy transportation hub. This morning, the CTA and Mayor Emanuel’s office formally announced the reopening of the entrance on Damen Avenue, declaring the news as a “major milestone” in the renovation and modernization of the Illinois Medical District station.

The $23 million overhaul, which is the first major renovation to the station since it opened fifty years ago, will ensure that the station is accessible from all entrances and will also include better platform lighting, security cameras, and train tracker displays.

The improvements are a part of the larger four-year, $492 million Your New Blue campaign which has seen the modernization of several Blue Line stations, including the Damen, California, Western, and Addison stations. A new station entrance and canopy is still planned for the busy Belmont station. The updates at the Illinois Medical District station are being paid for with TIF funds and the city says that the station improvements are “expected to create more than 300 jobs.”

Now that the Damen entrance has been reopened, the Ogden and Paulina entrances will be closed by the end of this week to allow construction to continue. The station house at Ogden will be completely rebuilt and will feature modern improvements such as a new elevator and new stairs. The Paulina entrance will see similar improvements that were added to the Damen entrance, which include newer lighting, security cameras, tracking displays, and new wall, floor, and ceiling finishes.

As of today, the CTA states that the Illinois Medical District station is the fourth busiest along the Blue Line’s Forest Park branch with more than 940,000 station entries. However, in the years leading up to its reconstruction and modernization, the station was seeing 1 million to 1.1 million entries per year and was the third busiest station along the Forest Park branch.