Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, joined by Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider and other state and local officials, broke ground September 21 on a new multimodal transportation center in downtown Joliet, Ill.
The project begins a complete overhaul of a key stop on the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail line. The $42 million project, which includes a $32 million commitment from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, will create almost 400 construction jobs, improve safety for travelers and serve as a catalyst for future transit-oriented development in Joliet’s historic City Center.
“This new transportation station will create jobs and economic development in Joliet, while providing an alternative to driving and high gas prices,” Governor Quinn said. “Once this project is completed, we’ll have better transportation in Joliet and safer, more reliable and convenient service for travelers.”
Joliet’s 100-year-old Union Station, which serves almost 800,000 riders per year on Amtrak and on Metra’s Heritage Corridor and Rock Island District lines, poses an issue by requiring passengers to cross working freight railroad tracks in order to board their trains. The new station will ensure safety and eliminate the problem by separating passenger from freight rail traffic and relocating the platform and waiting areas.
The first phase of the project, starting immediately, is the construction of a 400-space parking lot southwest of the new station. Other aspects include pedestrian tunnels linking to Pace and other forms of bus service and ground transportation. Union Station will be preserved and incorporated into the design of the new station campus.
The transportation center is anticipated to be complete by 2015. In addition to the $32 million from Illinois Jobs Now!, the project includes $7.5 million from the city of Joliet and $2.2 million from BNSF. The Regional Transportation Authority, Pace, Metra, Amtrak, Will County and Union Pacific also served as key partners.