As part of an ongoing $500 million renovation project, Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower is getting an extensive upgrade to its all-important elevator network—a system the completes a staggering 42,247 trips each day.
Starting in June, Otis Elevator will begin modernizing the skyscraper’s 97 passenger cars, its 64 miles of cable (long enough to stretch between Chicago and Kenosha, Wisconsin), and all related mechanical and control systems.
For the 5.8 million people who ride in Willis Tower’s elevators each year, the improvements will reduce travel times by up to 30 percent. The changes will also cut energy usage by 35 percent.
The undertaking represents the first comprehensive elevator overhaul since the 1,450-foot-tall building, originally known as the Sears Tower, opened in 1973. It is expected to take five years to complete.
The infrastructure improvements will be joined by new (and arguably much needed) wayfinding effort to eliminate some of the confusion posed by the building’s maze-like checkpoints and elevator lobbies.
- Willis Tower says goodbye to its ‘lunchbox’ entrance along Wacker Drive [Curbed Chicago]
- The $500M Willis Tower overhaul is well underway [Curbed Chicago]
- Willis Tower reveals ambitious makeover plan [Curbed Chicago]