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Double Track project in 'full construction mode,' preparations continue for West Lake Corridor

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South Shore Line

The South Shore Line's Double Track project is bringing plenty of disruption but no major problems, according to Mike Noland, the president of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. "Drive to Michigan City from here, and you will see nothing but hundreds and hundreds of construction workers diligently building the Double Track extension. And we are in full construction mode," Noland told the NICTD Board Monday.

He said the Double Track section between Michigan City and Dune Park is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. Then, the work and the busing operation will move west.

On the future West Lake Corridor branch from Hammond to Dyer, Noland said soil testing is underway, and heavy excavation work should start in June. "They're going to start in North Hammond, which is the trickiest part of this project. We'll be on structure for about a mile over railroads and roads and rivers," Noland explained.

The NICTD Board approved a third change order, adding another $7.4 million to the West Lake project's design-build contract. Almost $6.6 million is for design and furnishing upgrades at the future Main Street and Ridge Road stations, along with the relocation of a water main, requested by the town of Munster.

Noland thanked South Shore Line employees for their efforts during the construction projects. "Everyone is pitching in. Everyone is leaning forward. They know the importance of what we're doing here and how transformational it will be when we start and flip the switch and really take advantage of the improvement that we're embarking upon now," Noland added.

The Double Track project is on track to be done in May of 2024, while the West Lake Corridor is scheduled for completion a year later.