Double Track Northwest Indiana workshop held in Michigan City

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WNDU) - The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore Line, held a workshop with Michigan City's City Council Wednesday.

The purpose was to give an update on the Double Track Northwest Indiana project.

"We've had great support from the Michigan City Council. Actually, the agreement we got from Michigan City in 2016 was the first major agreement we got, and that springboarded the project to go down to the General Assembly, get funding," South Shore Line President Michael Noland said.

"I thought it was important that we get together in a formal setting and kind of give an update on what's going on," council President Sean Fitzpatrick said.

Those with the South Shore want to double track 16.9 miles of the railroad between Gary and Michigan City.

The federal government approved the final engineering phase of the project.

The project includes four new bridges, nine new platforms, improvements at five stations, more than 1,000 additional parking spaces, closure of 21 at-grade roadway rail crossings in Michigan City, with conversion of 11th Street to one-way eastbound traffic between Chicago Avenue and East Michigan Boulevard.

The project is touted as helping speed up the commute to Chicago, help grow the local economy and increase safety.

"There's going to be some street closures, but there's also going to be significant safety enhancements at every single crossing in Michigan City that remains open. We are putting in fully automated gates, lights and bells, so that's going to be a significant safety improvement to the community." Noland said.

Construction is set to begin in the summer of 2021.

There will be two open houses next week for property owners.

The Michigan real estate open house will be Tuesday, March 3 from 1-6 pm at City Hall.

The Gary real estate open house will be Wednesday, March 4 from 1-6 pm at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts.