CHESTERTON, Ind. — The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has approved purchase of materials for its planned South Shore Double Track project between Gary and Michigan City, Ind., as part of its effort to lower the cost of building the commuter railroad’s second main line.
The Times of Northwest Indiana reports the board on Monday approved purchases of $6.2 million in rail, $380,000 for diamond crossings, and more than $700,000 for Alstom signal equipment. Those purchases will remove potential price volatility for any contractor selected for the project.
The agency is also deciding which features of the project can be considered “options,” included only if funding arounds, and how much federal COVID relief funding it will have to apply to the project.
“I’m feeling confident between the actions we’re taking and the new funding available, we’ll be able to give a notice to proceed,” NICTD President Michael Noland told the board meeting.
In May, the NICTD turned down the only two bids it received for construction of the second track when those bids came in at $399.7 million and $425.5 million — far beyond the budged $228.6 million (see “Digest: UP bridge in Oregon damaged …,” Trains News Wire, May 11, 2021). The purchases and other changes are coming as the agency prepares to again put the project out to bid in the next few weeks.