Walsh-Herzog JV completes $650M Indiana rail expansion

Walsh Construction and Herzog have completed the $650 million South Shore Line Double-Track Project, a commuter rail expansion from Gary, Indiana, near Chicago to Michigan City, Indiana, the office of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcombe announced on May 13.

Chicago-based Walsh, as part of a joint venture with St. Joseph, Missouri-based Herzog, broke ground on the two-phase project in early 2022 to expand the South Shore Line rail corridor with new double tracks, per a May news release from Walsh. 

Walsh/Herzog completed the initial phase of double tracking between Dune Park and Michigan City in October 2023, per the builder’s release. After, the JV started the project’s second phase, double tracking the rail corridor between Dune Park and Gary, and reached substantial completion in early 2024. Test train operations began in February, and revenue service resumed along the corridor in April 2024.

The upgrades will add more than 1,400 parking spaces and 14 additional weekday trains, per the governor’s release. Work included a new overhead contact system, 22 at-grade crossings, 20 culverts and platform upgrades to five stations.

In addition, the new facilities and improvements cut down travel time — the journey from Michigan City to Chicago will shrink from 1 hour and 40 minutes to just over an hour, per Walsh, and removed 20 at-grade crossings to provide a safer environment for passengers boarding trains.

“With the additional track, high-speed crossovers and high-level boarding platforms now in place, we can deliver far superior commuter rail service to our riders with greater train frequency, better on-time performance and dramatically reduced times to and from Chicago,” said Michael Noland, president of the South Shore Line, in the governor’s release. “We can’t thank our funding partners at the state and local levels enough as well as our partnership with the FTA.”

Per the governor’s office, the project received funding from multiple sources:

  • $340 million from the state of Indiana.
  • $173 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program.
  • $80 million from local governments.
  • $30 million from the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
  • $24 million from the American Rescue Program.  

As part of the rail line’s expansion, work continues on the $950 million West Lake Corridor companion project. Omaha, Nebraska-based engineering firm HDR is providing design and program management services on the build, according to the company’s website. Officials estimate that the corridor will be complete in 2025.

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