Posts Tagged ‘South Shore double tracking’

NICTD Moves to Cut Costs of Track Project

July 29, 2021

The parent agency of the South Shore Line has taken a step toward lowering the cost of double tracking the commuter railroad between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has approved the purchase of materials for the project including $6.2 million in rail, $380,000 for diamond crossings, and more than $700,000 for Alstom signal equipment. Those purchases will remove potential price volatility for any contractor selected for the project.

The agency is still considering which components of the project can be labeled as optional if funding for them doesn’t materialize.

“I’m feeling confident between the actions we’re taking and the new funding available, we’ll be able to give a notice to proceed,” NICTD President Michael Noland said.

Last May NICTD rejected the only two bids it received for track construction because they far exceeded the $228.6 million budgeted for the project.

NICTD plans to put the track out for bid in the next few weeks.

NICTD Seeks to Lower Track Project Cost

May 26, 2021

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District will seek ways to lower the cost of adding a second main track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The agency, which oversees the South Shore commuter rail service, recently rejected the two bids it received for the project after they came in higher than expected.

Those bids were in the $400 million range whereas NICTD had expected the project to cost $228 million.

South Shore President President Michael Noland said during a NICTD board meeting the original plan for the double tracking was “a giant miss.”

However, he expressed confidence the project scope can be revised and additional funding can be found.

Among the possible changes NICTD might make are using single station platforms rather than two, using existing storage tracks rather than adding new ones; and buying such materials as rail and ties ahead of time rather than having project contractors buy them as part of their work.

South Shore Rail Project Bids Come in Higher Than Expected

May 6, 2021

The South Shore commuter railroad may reject the bids it received for a double-track project after they came in higher than expected.

The railroad’s parent agency, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, could also elect to accept the lowest bid.

Rejecting all of the bids would be the first step toward attempting to achieve a lower price.

NICTD President Michael Noland the agency had expected four bids but received just two of $400 million and $425 million.

The budget for the double-tracking project between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana, has been estimated at $491 million.

In an unrelated development, NICTD approved two contracts: $16.7 million for a new 11th Street Station in Michigan City, and $4.1 million for a new Gary Miller station.

The existing 11th Street Station closed Saturday and service at 11th Street will not resume until the conclusion of the station project.

FTA Awards Grant for South Shore Project

December 21, 2020

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has been awarded a $49.4 million federal grant to help pay to double track the South Shore Commuter line.

The grant came from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants program.

It was one of seven grants totaling $544.3 million that were awarded last week by the agency.

The CIG program provides funding for major transit infrastructure capital investments nationwide that help improve transit access.

The NICTD grant will be used on a project to install a second track for 26.6 miles between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The project is in the engineering phase of the CIG program.

Indiana City Eyes Property Acquisition for South Shore Double Tracking Project

December 15, 2020

The Michigan City (Indiana) city council may institute eminent domain proceedings to complete the land acquisition needed for the South Shore Line’s double track project.

The project will change the existing single-track street running of the South Shore in Michigan City.

The city is eying undertaking legal action to acquire two parcels of property that will be used to construct a station and parking garage.

The city attorney said legal action is likely to be needed because one property owner has set an asking price that is well beyond the assessed value of the property.

The other property owner has not responded to any inquiries about selling the property.

The project envisions creating two ballasted tracks on land adjacent to the current street running on 10th Street and closing 21 grade crossing.

Work will include adding 16.9 miles of second track between Michigan City and Gary, Indiana.

South Shore Track Project Gets Favorable Rating

February 13, 2020

The Federal Transit Administration has given a favorable rating to the South Shore Line plan to add double track in Indiana between Gary and Michigan City.

The project received a medium high ranking, which will allow it to move to the final engineering phase, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said.

NITCD officials are hoping that federal funds will pay for 38 percent of the project’s estimated $416 capital cost.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Double Track Northwest Indiana project has reached this critical milestone in the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program,” said NICTD President and CEO Michael Noland in a statement

Noland said the rating is “the FTA’s way of saying you’ve got a great project that we want to fund.”

The project involves 26 miles of a second mainline track, improvements at five stations, expansion of parking lots for over 1,300 new parking spaces and construction of nine new platforms.

It will particularly affect Michigan City, where the tracks will be separated from the roadway and 21 at-grade crossings will be closed.

NICTD expects that faster travel times east of Gary will lead to a doubling of existing South Shore Line ridership.

Funding Secured for South Shore Track Project

September 28, 2019

The final approval has been reached that was needed to get started a project to improve the South Shore commuter line tracks between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

St. Joseph County and officials in the City of South Bend have agreed on how to split $18 million for the local contribution to the project.

The $312 million project will add a second track in Indiana between Gary and Michigan that is expected to reduce South Shore running times.

Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties have already approved local funding and the state is paying $185 million as its share of the cost.

The remainder of the project cost will come from federal funding.

Engineering Work Starts on South Shore Track Project

July 6, 2019

Engineering work has begun as part of a project to double track a section of track used by the South Shore commuter line in northwest Indiana.

The project is being overseen by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and is relying on a Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Grant to fund, in part, the work.

NICTD has already completed an environmental review for laying a second mainline between Gary and Michigan City.

The project will involve 17 miles of new track, four new bridges, station and parking improvements at five South Shore Line stations, street-running track removal, new track installation that would be separated from roadways in Michigan City and the closure of 21 grade crossings in the city.

South Shore Gets OK on Double Track Project

November 13, 2018

The South Shore line received federal approval last week to continue to develop double track between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The Federal Transit Administration issued a finding of no significant impact for the $312 million project, which includes realigning the track in parts of Michigan City, closing 21 grade crossings and upgrading various stations.

The FTA, which conducted an environmental assessment of the project, is expected to fund half of the project cost through grants.

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, the state of Indiana and local communities will fund the other cots.

The South Shore is overseen by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

Transit Grants Slow to be Disbursed

August 17, 2018

Although the Federal Transit Administration has distributed about $25 million of an available $1.4 billion in grants, the agency’s failure to distribute the remaining $1.38 billion is causing delays in construction plans of transit agencies.

The grant money was included in the federal fiscal year 2018 budget and is designated for transit-rail and bus projects.

The undistributed funds have been approved for 17 projects that involve building or expanding transit systems.

Many of those projects are ready for construction and are waiting for the FTA to release the funds.

Some of those projects have been pending for several years.

Among the projects awaiting the release of funds is the proposal double-tracking of the South Shore rail line in Northwest Indiana.