Following a two-year delay since ground was officially broken for a new Amtrak station in downtown Grand Rapids, the project is once again underway.
This week bulldozers and earthmovers began demolition at 250 Grandville Ave. SW and Bill Kirk, public outreach coordinator for The Rapid, said the goal is to begin pouring foundation for the station later this week.
He noted that the station and platform structures are scheduled to be completed by late October or early November and that track and signal work will likely be completed by spring 2014. He said the station should be operational and under Amtrak and MDOT control by late summer of that year. The Amtrak facility is located next to The Rapid’s Central Station.
The project cost is estimated at $5.1 million and will follow the designs introduced back in 2011.
CSX Rail will be doing the track and signal work and Grand Rapids-based Erhardt Construction is the contractor for the project.
“It is a collaborative project between The Rapid, MDOT, the Federal Railway Administration, the Downtown Development Authority and the city of Grand Rapids,” Kirk said. “It’s a good example of a lot of different parties working together.”
The station will be relocated from its current site at 431 Wealthy St. SW.
“From a traffic pattern perspective, obviously moving it over here out of the way of the intersection of Wealthy and Market will help people that use those roadways,” Kirk said. “From a travel perspective, having an updated, modern station that connects directly to the full transit center, I think, will give people a more efficient connection. If you are coming in on a train you can hop right on a bus, and we actually have Greyhound and Indian Trails here as well, so it’s really kind of creating a true multi-modal transit center down here.”