CHICAGO – January 27, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that construction will begin this April to completely reconstruct the north-south section of Chicago’s Wacker Drive. The three-year, $366 million project will result in more than 4,000 jobs to the area and will be maintained through the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Funding for the project comes through Illinois Jobs Now!, a job-generation and capital improvement program that will revive the state’s ailing economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over six years.
“Illinois Jobs Now! is doing exactly what it was designed to do – it is improving our roads and schools while creating jobs across Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “We are eager to improve Wacker Drive, a vital street through downtown Chicago, while also creating thousands of good jobs.”
The project entails rebuilding the upper and lower levels of the two-level Wacker Drive from Randolph Street to Congress Parkway. The work also includes reconfiguring the Wacker Drive/Congress Parkway interchange to increase traffic safety and create more than three acres of new green space.
“Wacker Drive is one of the few streets that carry traffic in all four directions. It is imperative that this road is in top shape for motorists’ use,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “The Illinois Jobs Now! funding allocated for Wacker Drive will really improve this roadway.”
The reconstruction will bring a host of improvements, including increased clearance on the lower level, a separated service drive on Lower Wacker Drive, landscaped medians replacing existing entrance/exit ramps, new medians, sidewalk planters and lighting.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2010 and is expected to be completed in 2012.
North-South Wacker Drive was built in the mid-1950s and carries approximately 60,000 vehicles on an average weekday.