We are taking a moment to look back on one project at CGG that we were honored to take part in. After cooperating closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation for years, in 2007 they reached out to us about a new opportunity to make an impact on another roadway leading into and out of the city.
The redevelopment of the Dan Ryan Expressway took place mainly in the years 2006 to 2009, and since the project the highway has seen improved traffic flow and public safety. In 2007 we were given the chance to improve the appearance of the Dan Ryan, or interstate 90/94, which according to research is the “second busiest expressway in the U.S” (Fortmann). CGG designed and installed fourteen gardens along the inbound and outbound lanes.
This project differed from other Expressway and Tree Partnerships because we were able to partner with Little Black Pearl Art and Chicago Public schools to involve the artistic community of Chicago students to be able to make a difference on our highways. The schools worked to design medallions that were installed along the retaining walls of the expressway with symbols representing Chicago that was put into production by CTE Engineers.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, “The students, representing Price Elementary, Ariel Community Academy and three other schools, couldn’t have asked for a better gallery for their art: The Dan Ryan usually carries more than 320,000 vehicles a day.”
Local artists Carla Carr led teachings with Bernard Williams to express to the students what their opportunities would be for creating this public art. Power 92 also signed on this project to become the voice of inspiration for its success on a Chicago radio channel. 3 student designs were chosen after an online voting competition, along with contributions from the local artist Bernard Williams. The final 6 designs were unveiled in February of 2007 to the public.
As you drive by the area today you will understand the significance of these motifs and garden beds. It is so important that we continue to support community outreach for public art and the improvement of our city landscapes.
Thomas, Monifa. “Dan Ryan drivers will see these winners.” Chicago Sun-Times (IL) 25 Feb. 2007, Final, News: A20. NewsBank. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.
Fortmann, John. “Dan Ryan Expressway Project.” Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University. Illinois Department of Transportation, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.