Metra, Homewood, and other officials today broke ground on the $14.5 million renovation of the Homewood Station along the Metra Electric Line.
The work includes the construction of a new, ADA-accessible east headhouse, including a ramp; the renovation of the platform, wind breaks, warming house, and gatehouse; installation of new drainage, ventilation, lighting, and interior finishes in the existing tunnel; and replacement of the elevator connecting the tunnel to the platform. Also included is the construction of a new Pace bus facility, including three bus bays, a covered waiting area, and driver relief facilities.
“This work represents a significant improvement for our Homewood customers and is part of a significant investment by Metra into its stations, particularly its stations on the Metra Electric Line,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “With the help of our funding partners, we will be making this station more functional and welcoming for My Metra riders.”
“Cook County is proud to have contributed Invest in Cook grant funding to help make this project a reality,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “The County is committed to supporting and investing in transportation infrastructure projects that enhance the quality of life for residents and support economic opportunities in the Southland.”
“Accessible and beautiful mobility hubs like the Homewood Station do not just make riding transit better for everyone, they strengthen communities, grow local economies, and benefit the entire region by making it easier for employees, customers, and tourists to easily access local businesses and attractions,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. “The investments and improvements happening here are just one example of how the RTA and service boards are working together to ensure that our transit system continues to attract new riders and provide not just a viable but a preferable alternative to driving.”
“Improving accessibility and passenger convenience are priorities for Pace,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger. “We are thrilled to get this project underway with our partners at Metra and in Homewood. Our passengers will soon benefit from easier connections, more comfortable facilities, and more efficient service as we build back ridership and innovate to meet the new and changing needs of those we serve.”
“I could not be more excited that this long-awaited project to build a more accessible, welcoming gateway to the Village of Homewood is beginning,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, who represents the Village of Homewood in Congress. “Metra’s efforts to create better stations to support commuters, students, and visitors is a necessary investment in the families and the economy of the South Side and south suburbs. I am proud that this project was funded, in part, by the Federal Transit Administration; demonstrating that when all levels of government work together, we can achieve great things for our communities.”
“The Homewood Station project – supported by federal funding from the regional Surface Transportation Program, which CMAP administers – is an investment toward inclusive growth for communities in the south suburbs and Chicago’s South Side, for greater accessibility, and for getting people to where they need to go throughout the region,” said Erin Aleman, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
The Metra project follows a significant investment by Amtrak to rehab its part of the shared facility. That work added an enclosed ramp on the west side of the tracks, allowing all customers to access the tunnel under the tracks to both the Amtrak and the Metra train platform; other ADA improvements to the unique former Illinois Central Railroad station (built in 1923), including the waiting areas and restrooms; and a level path between the building, parking, and the stairway/ramp entrance to the tunnel.
The Homewood project is part of the Metra Electric Community Initiative, a transformative, multiyear plan to renovate and make accessible 13 stations on the Metra Electric Line through the South Side and south suburbs. The work, expected to take about 24 months, will be performed by IHC Construction of Elgin, which committed to subcontract 30 percent of the work to DBE firms.
Total construction costs are $20.7 million. Construction is being funded with $9.25 million in federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds administered by CMAP through its STP Shared Fund program; $6.5 million in Federal Transit Administration formula funding; $2.3 million in Regional Transportation Authority bonds; $2.1 million from Pace; and $300,000 from Cook County’s Invest in Cook program. A contribution of $116,000 from Homewood was used to help cover design costs.