train at station with second track to left

Double Tracking of South Shore Line Celebrates Completion

HDR-Supported Project Reduces Travel Time and Increases Safety on Critical Commuter Link Between Chicago and Northwest Indiana

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District cut the ribbon on Monday, May 13 to celebrate the opening of 18 miles of new track on its South Shore Line from Gary to Michigan City, Indiana. The project added a second track to the line, providing a faster, more frequent and more competitive transportation option between northwest Indiana and Chicago. 

In addition to expanding from single track to double track, the $650 million project included signal, power, communications, bridge and track infrastructure, and improvements at five stations. Safety improvements were a priority, and the project included the closing of 22 at-grade road crossings, relocation of 10 crossings to be equipped with automatic warning devices, and four new bridges eliminating previous crossings.

HDR’s environmental, engineering and program management staff have supported the project from its early stages. The work included preliminary track, bridge and station designs that minimized potential environmental impacts. HDR also supported an environmental assessment that resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact and completed complex agency coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service and Indiana Department of Environmental Management. After groundbreaking, HDR provided environmental monitoring, quality and safety oversight, and Federal Transit Administration reporting. 

“The South Shore Line provides a vital connection for travelers throughout northwest Indiana to Chicago, and these improvements will make a real difference in people’s daily lives,” said Janice Reid, HDR project manager. “It’s been a privilege to assist NICTD on this critical project and so exciting to see it come to reality after years of work.”

Expanded service on the line began May 14, with the addition of 14 train trips that will increase frequency and reliability for travelers. Travel time between Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana, is expected to be decreased by 30 minutes or more during peak service periods. 

“Congratulations to NICTD on this exciting milestone,” said HDR Global Transit Director Matthew Tucker. “The improved service, safety and reliability will benefit communities along the South Shore Line for generations to come. I’m proud of HDR’s contributions and delighted to see the new track and station improvements in use.” 

About HDR
HDR is a 100% employee-owned professional services firm. Founded over a century ago to bring electricity to a changing world, we are now a global company specializing in architecture, engineering, environmental and construction services. Our success in built and natural environments continues as we collaborate to solve our clients’ and communities’ most complex challenges.