NEAR WEST SIDE — Five years and two groundbreaking celebrations later, construction on the highly anticipated Green Line stop at Lake Street and Damen Avenue will break ground later this month, officials said Friday.
Plans for a new Damen Green Line station were first announced in 2017 by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The new station, near the United Center, is meant to fill a 1-1/2 mile gap between existing Green Line stations at California and Ashland.
Prep work for the station, which included utility relocations and underground work to reinforce column foundations, was completed last year. But supply chain issues added to the delay, officials from the Chicago Department of Transportation told Block Club.
Construction is expected to take 18 months, officials said.
The new stop will be the third spearheaded by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), who believes the stop will right a historic wrong by providing public transportation in an area that has public housing.
“This is great for the people that live in public housing, but it’s [also] great for the industrial area, great for Malcom X, great for the United Center, great for the Medical District,” Burnett said.
The stop will also serve the elderly who can’t drive anymore and millennials that don’t want to drive or don’t have a car, Burnett said.
When asked if he was worried the project would be delayed again, Burnett said he was “hoping for the best.”
“They have all the bids out, they have the contractors, all those things [and] we just did a job fair about it Wednesday so I think it’s moving in the right direction,” he said.
The project was originally estimated to cost $50 million, but was ultimately priced at $80.2 million when the contract was awarded last year to local construction company FH Paschen.
State funds and Kinzie Industrial Corridor tax-increment financing (TIF) dollars will pay for the new station. Designated in 1998, the Kinzie Industrial Corridor TIF district, which spans portions of Humboldt Park, West Town, East Garfield Park and the Near West Side, is set to expire in 2022.
Both Burnett and transportation officials said the process to extend the Kinzie TIF district is underway.
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