The proposed West Lake Corridor commuter rail extension project continues to move forward. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Board of Trustees this week authorized the railroad management team to start negotiating with two companies to design and build the new rail connector.
Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report NICTD will begin negotiations with a joint venture of two Chicago-based rail construction companies, F.H. Paschen and Ragnar Benson on the multi-million-dollar project.
The paper says a team of South Shore Line managers and consultants spent the past five weeks reviewing the technical aspects of two proposals to do the work.
Officials opened the financial portion of the proposals Monday which put the construction bid at $664 million.
“This was huge to get to this point today,” said NICTD President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Noland. But he said significant negotiations remain before coming to terms on a contract, including on the cost of the work.
The West Lake Corridor would run nine miles from the South Shore Line in Hammond to the Munster-Dyer town line and include four new stations.
The publication says plans call for it to begin service in February 2025, though South Shore officials hope service will begin in fall 2024.
NICTD’s capital plan includes $816 million for the project.