Council Approves Plan for Metra Underpass at West Station
Construction Could Start Next Summer
The Lake Forest City Council approved conceptual plans for a pedestrian underpass at the West Lake Forest Train Station at its July 16 meeting.
HDR Engineering Inc. will move forward to develop detailed plans, which must be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation and Metra. After that, the engineers will return to the City Council for final approval.
The construction is expected to cost between $2.5 and $3.25 million and will be partially funded by $2 million from state and federal grants, which Lake Forest received after two Lake Forest High School students were killed by Metra trains earlier this year.
“The main priority was pedestrian safety, so this is where the funding came from,” City Manager Bob Kiely said.
The underpass will feature a bowl shape and landscaping to make the tunnel feel less confined. If the plans are approved, construction is expected to begin next summer and be completed by the first quarter of 2014.
The project will not require any road closures, though it will eliminate 40 commuter parking spots. The Lake Forest Fire Station at 1111 S. Telegraph Road may expand the overflow commuter parking it already offers, Kiely said.
Building an underpass could enable Lake Forest to add an Amtrak stop at the Metra station. It would be the line's only stop in Lake County.