Metra, state and local officials, including Gov. JB Pritzker, State Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins, Metra Board Chair Romayne C. Brown and Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski, today broke ground on the construction of the new Auburn Park Station on the Rock Island Line in the Auburn-Gresham community on the South Side of Chicago.
“We are excited and happy to break ground on this station and take a significant step toward bringing fast, dependable Metra service to this community,” Derwinski said. “We want to thank Gov. Pritzker and Sen. Collins especially for their vision and leadership and for providing the funding that is making this station possible.”
“Thanks to our Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan, Auburn Gresham is getting a new, fully accessible Metra station,” said Gov. Pritzker. “This gleaming station will improve access to transportation and jobs throughout the region, support economic development and opportunities in the neighborhood, and contribute to the overall health of the community. Revitalizing communities, redesigning transit systems – these are the improvements that make it easier for parents to get to work and back, so they can spend more time with family. It’s the kind of change that I’m proud to support, and it’s the kind of change that sits at the heart and soul of what Rebuild Illinois is all about.”
“Communities on the South Side have long suffered from disinvestment and unequal access to basic amenities like public transportation. This means a lack of access to jobs and opportunity for working families here,” said State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago). “As we break ground today, we signal to these communities that we are changing the course by investing in their overall development and building a better, more equitable Chicagoland.”
“This long-awaited new station will provide Auburn-Gresham residents with better access to jobs, school, recreational opportunities, and other meaningful destinations in their lives,” said Gia Biagi, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation. “CDOT is proud to have worked with Metra in coordinating public way improvements to ensure that people walking, biking, and driving can safely and easily access the station, and we look forward to seeing this project brought to life.”
“This project is a long time coming, a future transportation asset that will enhance quality of life in a vibrant area of the city, region and state,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Under Gov. Pritzker, Rebuild Illinois is making possible projects like this one up and down the state, making Illinois an even more attractive place to grow a business and career, raise your family, recreate and play.”
The new, fully accessible station at 79th Street will feature:
• A large, landscaped plaza with bicycle racks, benches, trees, and canopy
• A vendor building with glass storefronts and a bright, open atmosphere
• A living green wall along the existing retaining wall
• A staircase and two elevators between the street and platform levels
• A 480-foot-long platform with a bright, polycarbonate canopy and two shelters
• A snow melt system that will keep the platform clear without the need for deicing chemicals
• A new 84-space parking lot featuring a kiss-n-ride drop-off area, covered bicycle parking, landscaped islands, trees, and a decorative fence to screen the lot from neighboring homes
• Roadway improvements to provide vehicular access to the station
The $28.2 million contract for the new station and parking facility was awarded to John Burns Construction of Orland Park. Burns has committed to allocating 38 percent of the contract dollars to DBE firms. Construction is anticipated to take about 30 months.
The new station promises to improve access to transportation and jobs throughout the region, support economic development and opportunities in the neighborhood and contribute to the overall health of the community.