Work to start next month on Joliet transporation center
By Bob Okon email@example.com July 21, 2012 5:34PM
This artist's rendition shows the viaduct at Joliet's Union Station. | courtesy City of Joliet
Updated: August 23, 2012 10:42AM
JOLIET — Plans for the future downtown transportation center moved forward last week with work expected to start next month.
The contract on the first phase of construction was awarded, and the public got a closer look at what the $42 million development will look like. The project is loosely slated for completion in 2014.
Joliet Councilman Don Fisher, a former planner for the city, is enthusiastic about what he’s seeing.
“Realistically, I think this is going to be one of the best transportation centers in Illinois,” Fisher said when asked to sum up his impressions of how the project is going.
Fisher acknowledged he typically has “a glass half-full” outlook, but said the transportation center will give downtown a new look and make life better for train commuters who use the city’s Union Station.
“It hasn’t been a good situation for them,” he said. “It hasn’t been convenient. Parking has been poor. The look has not been good. This changes all that.”
New look planned
The city has posted the slide presentation from Knight Engineers & Architects on its web page (www.cityofjoliet.info) right above a commuter survey aimed at collecting more information about who uses Union Station now.
One architect drawing that particularly impressed Fisher was that of how the train viaduct at Jefferson Street will look. It will be dressed up with a new facade, including a “Welcome to Joliet” message that Fisher described as “inviting.” He noted that the city has been interested in improving the look of the viaduct since 1990.
A more practical matter is parking, which will be job one of the project.
The council last week awarded P.T. Ferro Construction in Joliet a $1.8 million contract for the very first work on the project — a parking lot at Chicago and Marion streets. The bid was the lowest of four submitted and well below the engineer’s estimate of nearly $2.7 million for the work.
The work should start next month, which would keep it in line with a previous timetable for the project, said Kendall Jackson, the city’s director of planning. Construction of buildings is expected to start in 2013.
The P.T. Ferro bid includes 25 percent participation by minority businesses according to the state’s standards for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Jackson said. That was the minimum DBE requirement for the contract.