The South Shore Line's Double Track project remains on schedule as railroad officials anticipate a funding agreement with the federal government early next year.
The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Board of Trustees approved a contract Monday for demolition work in Michigan City in preparation for the project.
The $2.7 million contract was awarded to Green Demolition of Chicago. The board also approved about $1.2 million for the manufacture of railroad turnouts needed in advance of the project, which will begin next summer if all goes according to plan.
The current schedule anticipates formalization of a grant from the Federal Transit Administration early next year that would pay about 38% of a project expected to cost more than $450 million.
"Assuming we get a full-funding grant agreement in early 2021, we'll be ready to start construction of the Double Track project early in the summer of 2021," South Shore President Michael Noland told the board.
The turnouts will be purchased from voestalpine Railway Systems Nortrak of Wyoming. Engineers are doing final design work, and a construction contract will be awarded early next year.
Noland said technical reviews with the Federal Transit Administration are complete and the railroad and its local partners are awaiting the agency's final determination on the New Starts grant.
"We're positioned very well," Noland said.
The Double Track project will add 17 miles of a second track to the South Shore from Gary to Michigan City and include four new bridges, eight new station platforms, additional parking and closure of 21 at-grade crossings in Michigan City.
NICTD's West Lake Corridor project, which will extend commuter rail service south through Hammond and Munster, should also start construction next summer, Noland said.
The design-build team for the project, the companies F.H.Paschen and Ragnar Benson, "are actively now finishing out that design," he said.