Deputy Secretary John Porcari
Opening of North-South Wacker Drive
Friday November 30, 2012
Hello everyone. It’s great to be here for the opening of North-South Wacker Drive.
First, congratulations to Gabe Klein and everyone at the Chicago Department of Transportation for a job well done.
I also want to thank the many construction workers who have labored long and hard through good weather and bad weather to complete this project.
Wacker Drive is not only an iconic part of the Windy City—it’s a critical thoroughfare used by 66,000 drivers and 140,000 pedestrians each day.
But after six decades of daily use, the need for major repair was clear.
The U.S. Department of Transportation was proud to provide $240 million in federal funds to complete this $300 million project.
The improvements we see here today are going to reduce traffic congestion, shorten commute times, and ensure goods move more efficiently around Chicago.
And we’re improving traffic safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.
These improvements are a down payment on Chicago’s future—and they will benefit residents, commuters and tourists for decades to come.
The investments we’ve made in Wacker Drive created good construction jobs when we needed them most.
And it will help strengthen economic growth and improve competitiveness for Chicago over the long-term.
These benefits extend to the rest of the Midwest and beyond.
“Revive Wacker Drive” is a testament to Chicago’s history of engineering excellence.
Over a century ago, the best and the brightest Americans rebuilt this city. (Architects like William LeBaron Jenny, who built the first skyscraper—the Home Insurance Building in Chicago; Louis Sullivan, known as the “Father of Skyscrapers;” Daniel Burnham, who built Union Station, Lincoln Memorial and was integral to designing Washington, DC; and even Frank Lloyd Wright.)
And today, as we look at the new viaduct and green space along the drive, we see that same spirit of perseverance and renewal.
Chicago is one of America’s strongest cities, and you deserve a world class transportation network that gets you where you need to go.
This project is a model for cities around the world.
President Obama and the Department of Transportation are proud to have supported you.
And we look forward to seeing Chicago’s continued development and progress.