The engineering group Arup has been selected as the design firm for the redevelopment of Chicago's Union Station.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined representatives from Amtrak, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in making the announcement Monday.
Arup will work on the first phase of the project, which will last approximately 18 months and include "advance design work in a number of areas including expanded concourses and entrances, widening of platforms, ADA compliance, pedestrian passageways and issues related to ventilation," reads a statement from the mayor's office.
The "design services for improvements to address the most immediate issues of passenger capacity, service, safety, accessibility, and mobility issues in and around the station" will be jointly funded by Amtrak, the city of Chicago, Metra and the RTA, according to the mayor's office.
"We are making Union Station a true transit hub and economic engine by doubling down on transportation investments that create jobs and transform neighborhoods," Emanuel said in the news release. "Union Station provides an essential link to economic, cultural and recreational opportunities for Chicago's residents, visitors and businesses. Modernizing Union Station is one of the ways we are working together to build a 21st century infrastructure to power Chicago's 21st century economy."
Metra Chairman Martin Oberman added: "This work is essential to developing plans to address critical pedestrian flow and ventilation issues at Union Station, but we still have much work to do. We will need to work together to identify the funding to undertake this major public improvement in order to advance this work. I look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners to secure that funding so that we can transform this historic building into a modern facility."
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association issued a statement in response to today's announcement.
"We are excited by the importance Mayor Rahm Emanuel has placed on improving Chicago's Union Station," the statement reads. "Today CUS is the third busiest station in the country and has more daily travelers than Midway Airport. Investing in the station now will help prepare us for a future when Chicago is the hub of a regional 220-mph high-speed rail system. This system will provide a $13.8 billion per year increase in business sales for the Chicago Metro Area alone."