NEWS

Northern Indiana Transit Project Honored by FTA for Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation

The Federal Transit Administration honored an HDR-managed commuter rail project southeast of Chicago for its environmental documentation. HDR completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District effort to provide new service between Dyer, Indiana, and Chicago. 

The West Lake Corridor project aims to expand NICTD commuter rail service via an eight-mile southerly branch from the South Shore Line Hammond, Indiana, station to Dyer. The proposed $933 million project would increase transportation options for accessing downtown Chicago, improve mobility and accessibility, and stimulate economic development for growing communities throughout Lake County, Indiana. 

The Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation is presented in two categories every two years — Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Statement. "I am so humbled to accept this prestigious award on behalf of HDR,” said Janice Reid, HDR's environmental lead for the NICTD project. “This accomplishment is a reflection of all the hard work, late nights and teamwork that was displayed during this tremendous effort. Staff from several HDR offices worked hand-in-hand with our client through numerous iterations and changes to the project and document based on stakeholder and FTA input, and ended with a confirmed ‘outstanding’ EIS document.”

The HDR-led West Lake Corridor Final EIS and Record of Decision reflects FTA Region V’s new “best practices” review process, fulfilling requirements for content, utility and practicality in environmental documentation. The document was seen not just as an end result of the NEPA process, but as the start of the next phase when the environmental commitments will be thoughtfully executed by designers and contractors. 

The West Lake Corridor has recently received a positive rating from the FTA and approval to enter the engineering phase of the New Starts program. This would not have been possible without the successful completion of the FEIS/ROD. HDR serves as the program management consultant for both projects.

This marks the third time HDR projects have earned the Outstanding Achievement award within the past decade. The Kansas City Streetcar Environmental Assessment won in 2013, and the Sound Transit Federal Way Link Extension FEIS in Seattle won in 2017.

“The technical expertise of our teams, their attention to detail, patience and determination are unrivaled,” said Transportation Environmental Services Director John McPherson. “Beyond just this year’s award, we continue to refine and improve our approach, resulting in environmental work that sets the standard across the industry.”

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Left to Right: Nicole Barker, South Shore Line, Director of Capital Investment and Implementation; Chris Beck, South Shore Line, Chief Infrastructure Development Officer/West Lake Corridor Project Manager; Michael Noland, South Shore Line, President and CEO; Janice Reid, HDR, Chicago Environmental Services Leader