A number of community leaders were on hand last week for a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction for Joliet’s new train station and platform.
The project is part of the city’s multi-modal regional transportation center, which also includes a bus station.
Funding for the initiative has seen delays over the years, prompting Joliet officials to hold off on construction. The cost of the work to be performed has increased raising the total amount of the initiative to more than $40 million, the city records show.
Mayor Bob O’DeKirk said the work of local and state lawmakers to advance the new train station project shows their commitment to Joliet area people.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re really happy to be here,” he said. “We’re ready to get to work on it.”
In March, the Joliet City Council awarded a $16.03 million contract to Walsh Construction for the work needed to build the new train station platform.
Around that time, city, state and regional transportation officials hashed out details regarding what to do with the bus station. That portion of the project is on hold.
Randy Blankenhorn, secretary of transportation for the state, was one of several community leaders who also spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony. He said the train station is one of the most important pieces to linking communities together.
“You got to be able to move people in and out and this is [one way] of how we’re going to make it better again,” Blankenhorn said.
Metra Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno said he looks forward to seeing the project run its course.
“It’s just amazing all the things we can do when people work together and it’s for the common good of the people,” he said. “This station means a lot to Metra. We see have the Heritage Corridor line; we got the Rock Island line. There’s not many places where we have two of our major lines coming together to work together to move people to jobs of the communities.”
Among those in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony were also Joliet council members John Gerl and Jan Quillman, Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) and Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
The train station is expected to see completion by the end of 2017, the city records show.