Construction of the Double Track Northwest Indiana (DT-NWI) Project is set to begin soon as announced by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD). The commission has given Walsh/Herzog Joint Venture permission to begin building. The Notice to Proceed announces the start of construction on a second track that will alleviate train interference on the present South Shore Line single track. The DT-NWI Project will, in the end, result in shorter travel times, more frequent train service, and more connections between northwest Indiana and Chicago. The $649 million projects has been split into six contracts to build the second track and renovate station facilities at five South Shore Line stations.
The public may expect construction mobilization in February and construction work between Michigan City and Gary-Miller to commence in March 2022. South Shore Line passengers will be bused between various stops throughout the Double Track project to facilitate construction.
Details on the Double Track Northwest Indiana contracts
Walsh/Herzog Joint Venture was awarded Double Track Contract 1, which involves the building of the second track across the project corridor, station platforms, and four new bridges. Larson Danielson was awarded Double Track Contract 2, which involves the demolition of the historic Michigan City 11th Street South Shore Line Station’s façade, which will be integrated into a new station building and parking structure. Hasse Building was awarded Double Track Contract 3 for the construction of a new station house and parking lots at the Gary-Miller Station. Larson Danielson was awarded Double Track Contract 4, which involves the building of a new parking area south of US 12 at the Portage/Ogden Dunes Station immediately west of Stagecoach Road. Rieth-Riley was awarded Double Track Contract 5, which involves the building of a new east parking lot expansion at the Dune Park Station. Positive Train Control equipment will be installed on the enlarged route under Double Track Contract 6, which was awarded to Xorail.
What we reported in January 2021
New South Shore double track project announced in Indiana
The governor of Indiana, Eric J. Holcomb announced that nearly US$173 million from federal-state funding was allocated to allow for the construction of the expansion of the South Shore double track rail project, a project that has been a decades-long priority for the region. The US$491 million South Shore Indiana project, which is a key segment of Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda, will speed-up the passenger rail service between Gary and Michigan City as well as make critical safety improvements at grade crossings and platform improvements at five stations. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) signed the Full Funding Grant Agreement. This agreement finalizes the full federal funding for the project through the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG).
In Michigan City, South Shore trains now travel down the middle of an inner-city street that also carries car traffic. The Double Track project would take trains off the roadway and close 21 at-grade crossings. A new parking structure and raised platform would be put in place helping to cut down the time it takes to travel between Michigan City and Chicago. The heart of the project calls for laying 41 kilometers of new track between Michigan City and Gary. Currently, there is only one track in place there right now and it carries two-way traffic. Double Track would allow west and eastbound trains to safely pass.
“By improving commuter rail through the region, the project is a game-changer for northwest Indiana and the entire state,” Holcomb said. “Combined with our recent announcement on the West Lake Corridor project, double-tracking the South Shore line will connect Hoosiers, attract talent and business, and increase the quality of life in our great Indiana communities.” FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams stated that “Commuters on the South Shore Line can look forward to more efficient commuter rail service connecting them to downtown Chicago while supporting economic recovery.”
What we reported in August 2021
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.
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.
What we reported in November 2021
Final contracts lined up for South Shore Line Double Track project, Indiana
The final contracts for the Northwest Indiana South Shore Line Double Track project have been authorized. According to reports, the clearance puts the almost $500 million project on schedule for completion in 2024. The South Shore Line between Gary and Michigan City will be upgraded from a single track to a double track as part of this project. It also comprises infrastructure renovations at five passenger stations, such as construction, signal, power, and platform modifications. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District board accepted a more than $300 million construction contract for a joint venture led by Indianapolis-based Walsh Construction Co. on Monday.
Contract details for South Shore Line Double Track project
The contract is the outcome of a second offer for the project, which was submitted earlier this year. The first proposals were around US$400 million, and the NITCTD sought to bring the project closer to the expected US$228 million number. According to the journal, the board also authorized a US$2.9 million contract for modifications at the Portage/Ogden Dunes Station, an US$8.7 million deal for enhancements to the railroad’s Positive Train Control system, and an US$8.7 million contract for bus service during sections of the project. Along with the main contract, the board authorized one for positive train control enhancements, bus service when construction necessitates track closures, and work at three stations, including $16.7 million for the new Michigan City 11th Street Station.
“They are absolutely historic.” The contracts you recently authorized, particularly the Double Track 1 main contract, which allows Walsh to start construction, are the result of many, many, many years of work. It’s an exciting moment, and we can’t wait to get Walsh out on the field and begin turning dirt. “That’s the ultimate lynchpin in lowering our service down from an hour 45 when we finish double track to an hour 30 level,” South Shore President Michael Noland told the board.