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Construction begins on US$491 million south shore line rail project, Indiana

Construction has begun on the US$491 million south shore line rail project in Northwest Indiana. The 26-mile railway line will run from Michigan City to Gary, IN. The project will include the doubling of the existing rail track. Officials project that peak period express trains running along the doubled mainline track will reduce travel times between Michigan City and Millennium Park in Chicago by about half an hour. Trains will travel more frequently as well. Numerous related construction projects will be taking shape along the stretch of new tracking, including the expansion of parking lots for over 1,300 new parking spaces, improvements at five stations, and nine new platforms.

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Some of the most significant work will be happening in Michigan City where major safety improvements are planned. Currently, the rails are set in the roadway as a street-running track and this will not be changed. 21 at-grade crossings will be closed and the tracks will be separated from the roadway. The old system will be replaced with two new, separated ballasted tracks. All in all, the project is expected to reduce travel times for all riders traveling east of Gary and more than double the existing South Shore Line ridership.

Construction is expected to wrap up in 2024.“By improving commuter rail through the region, the project is a game-changer for northwest Indiana and the entire state. Double tracking the South Shore Line will connect Hoosiers, attract talent and business, and increase the quality of life in our great Indiana communities,” said Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Governor. The total project is expected to cost about US$491 million with around US$173 million originally coming from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program, and another US$24.5M provided recently as part of the American Rescue Plan.

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