The South Shore commuter railroad plans to open the east portion of its new high-level boarding platform at the Dune Park station by late August.
The new platform will allow passengers to board trains without having to use stairs, which will particularly assist the elderly, people with disabilities and families with strollers, said John Parsons, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District assistant director.
The $4.1 million project has been underway since earlier this year, and will include a direct walkway from the east parking lot to the station and better traffic circulation in and out of the station area once it is complete.
The east portion of the platform to open in August will also feature two warming shelters.
"Folks will either be able to wait in the station or wait on the platform for trains," Parsons said.
The western portion of the new platform is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving.
The Dune Park station is located at 33 E. U.S. Highway 12, in Chesterton. It has parking for more than 500 vehicles and is one of the busiest stations on the South Shore line.
High-level boarding platforms have been constructed at four other South Shore stations during the last two decades. In addition to making boarding easier for passengers, they cut a typical rush-hour train's boarding stop to just 45 seconds from the 3 minutes it takes without the high-level platform.
The new Dune Park platform will also have ticket vending machines, meaning commuters can go direct from their car to the boarding platform even without a ticket.
The construction project also includes new turnouts on the rails to allow freight trains to divert to a second track, which should cut down on train delays.
Larson-Danielson, of LaPorte, is the lead contractor on the high-level boarding platform project, with design and construction management performed by URS Corp., of San Francisco.