West Lake Corridor Construction is Rolling

West Lake Corridor Construction is Rolling

Construction on Indiana’s newest route toward economic growth is well underway now that things have kicked off on the West Lake Corridor project – the largest public transit investment in state history. It is being funded through a mix of federal, state, and local dollars and is expected to cost nearly $945 million.

The goal of the project is to significantly expand commuter rail service from the West Lake Corridor to Chicago. A new north-south rail line about eight miles long will be established between Hammond and Dyer. Also, four completely new rail stations and one new maintenance facility will be established. The five buildings include:

  • Gateway station in north Hammond
  • Station at 173rd street in Hammond
  • Station at Ridge Road in Munster
  • Station at the border of Munster and Dyer off of Main Street
  • New maintenance facility in north Hammond
  • A West Lake Corridor project map is available here.

“By bringing commuter rail through the heart of Lake County, the West Lake Corridor project is a game changer for northwest Indiana and the entire state,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said. “This vital infrastructure project will immediately result in 1,000 well-paying construction jobs. Unprecedented economic development in the region will now be possible as we connect Hoosiers, while also attracting talent and business to lower taxes, better quality of life and great communities in Indiana.”

Construction is expected to finish in late 2024 with passenger service starting in early 2025.

 

The Financing

Perhaps the most significant thing about the West Lake Corridor project is the wide range of partnering organizations that came together to secure the funding needed for its construction and development. It took nearly 30 years to bring all of this together.

Federal, state, regional, and local officials all worked together to bring the project to life. Partners included such organizations as: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), Governor Holcomb’s office, former Governors Mike Pence and Mitch Daniels, Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, former Congressman Peter Visclosky’s office, members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation and General Assembly, and numerous local city and county officials.

Together, all of those organizations raised the $945 million needed for the project by utilizing several sources. They included:

  • $354.6 million federal infrastructure grant
  • $255 million committed by the state of Indiana
  • $335 million from local partners

“The West Lake Corridor project is a big win for Hoosiers in Northwest Indiana. This new rail line will encourage billions in private investment in the area, create great jobs for those in Hammond and Dyer and the surrounding counties, and create new opportunities for growth in the Northwest Indiana region,” said Senator Mike Braun.

“Receipt of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for West Lake is the culmination of the incredible vision and leadership that so many in this area exhibited for the past three decades. We look forward to our opening day of service in the spring of 2025, if not sooner,” said NICTD President Mike Noland.

 

More in the Works

The West Lake Corridor is one of two major rail projects in the works for Northwest Indiana. The other is the double tracking of the South Shore line and improvements to several stations between Gary and Michigan City. Construction for that project is expected to begin in 2021. It will cost an estimated $490 million and could be complete in 2023.

Combined, the Double Track Northwest Indiana and West Lake Corridor projects are projected to attract approximately $2.3 billion in private investment to northwest Indiana, and result in over 6,000 new jobs and $3 billion in economic impact by 2048, according to state officials.

 

Transformative Times

These are transformative times for Northwest Indiana’s transportation network and economic profile, as greater accessibility is sure to bring about new opportunities and investments. History is being made, one railroad tie at a time. This project will be well worth following as it moves on down the line.

 

 

 


West Lake Corridor Design-Build Team


 

 

Photos and maps provided by NICTD.

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