Metra board approves $3.1M contract for rehab of Rock Island Line’s Vermont St. station
Today the Metra board of directors today OKed a $3.1 million contract to rehab the Blue Island Vermont Street Station on the Rock Island Line.
The contract was awarded to Elgin-based IHC Construction, which promised to meet a POC- and women-owned business participation goal of 25 percent. Construction is slated to start later this fall and take roughly a year.
“We are pleased that we will be creating a more welcoming, more comfortable experience for Rock Island Line customers while still retaining the historic nature of this facility,” said Metra CEO Jim Derwinski in a statement.
The station, located at 2300 W. Grove St. in Blue Island, was built three years after the end of the Civil War in 1868. Read a little more history of the train stop here.
The station serves as a station on both the Rock Island mainline and as the southern terminus of the line’s Beverly Branch, and averaged roughly 600 riders each weekday before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The stop is located across Vermont Avenue from the Metra Electric District line’s Blue Island station, the southern terminus of that line, as shown in the map below.
The Rock Island Line station makeover includes a full indoor rehab; renovation of the roof including replacing gutters and downspouts; the rebuilding of the original chimneys; rehabbing wooden eave supports; replacing of all doors and windows; custom brick replacement and masonry staining; asbestos and lead paint abatement; new landscaping and site upgrades; sidewalk and crosswalk improvements and repairs to create wheelchair-accessible routes; and new wayfinding and transfer signs.
The work is being bankrolled by a grant from the Regional Transportation Authority’s Innovation, Coordination, and Enhancement program.
Currently the pedestrian crossing between the Rock Island Line and Metra Electric stations is a bit sketchy, so hopefully the planned pedestrian upgrades will involve making it safer and easier through better street markings, a pedestrian island, and/or traffic calming. A Metra spokesperson said they would look into the details of what’s planned; We’ll update this post if we hear back from the railroad.