With 30 percent of
the design of the West Lake Corridor project completed, the Board of
Trustees of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District is set to
move to the next phase: retaining an engineering firm to design the balance
and then to build it.
At the newly
restructured board’s first meeting on Monday, members voted unanimously to
approve a short list of three proposers as well as to release to those firms
a request for proposals.
The proposers: F.H.
Paschen-Ragnar Benson Joint Venture; Walsh-Herzog Joint Venture; and Kiewit
Proposals are due
in December, with the board likely to be in a position in February 2020 to
make its choice of firm. A notice to design/build could be issued to the
firm in May 2020; substantial completion of the project could be effected by
December 2023; and full revenue service and operation by March 2024 (or
February 2025 under a contingency schedule).
currently being developed with three other railroads in the project area, as
well as with the communities which the West Lake Corridor will serve:
Hammond, Munster, and Dyer.
right-of-way acquisition is also underway. A total of 264 acquisitions will
be necessary, with 70 homes and 30 renters expected to be affected.
Purchases should begin in August, with all acquisitions completed by
In addition, 32
rail cars will need to be rebuilt in order to serve the West Lake Corridor,
each of them requiring some 4,500 man-hours of labor. That work will all be
Total project cost:
$933 million, including financing, construction, and right-of-way
project, on the other hand--in which a second set of tracks will be
installed between Michigan City and Gary, with the idea of making the line
run more efficiently--is not quite as far along as the West Lake Corridor
Members did vote
unanimously to retain the services of AECOM for final engineering and HDR
for project management services.
They also approved
four new change orders in the preliminary engineering of the project, at an
additional cost of $843,116. The prior board already approved 14 previous
change orders, at an additional cost of $1,159,958.
The project is just
now beginning the “entry into engineering” phase, with the “full funding
grant approval” phase--if all goes well--expected in March 2021.
Construction could be complete by May 2022 and revenue service operation in
2023 (2024 under a contingency schedule).
Total project cost:
Members also voted
unanimously to approve an amended and restated governance agreement with the
Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Indiana Finance
Authority, necessitated after the Federal Transit Administration indicated
that the level of federal funding for the West Lake Corridor and
double-tracking projects may be less than originally anticipated.
agreement reflects the $185 million in additional funding provided by the
state in legislation enacted earlier this year, along with $20 million in
potential contingency funding.
The RDA and IFA
both approved the amended agreements last week.