Work for Phase 1 of the pedestrian underpass at the Telegraph Road Train Station should begin shortly after the approval March 5 of a licensing agreement and awarding of the contract to HDR Engineering Inc.
Phase 3, estimated to cost $1.8 million to $2.6 million, will begin once all approvals are received from involved parties including the Illinois Department of Transportation, said City Engineer Ramesh Kanapareddy. Engineering work is estimated to be completed by December 2012, with construction finished in December 2014
The project will be paid for with $2 million in state and federal grant funding, with the $225,289 in engineering costs financed through tax increment financing funds.
Lake Forest Assistant City Manager Carina Walters said the 50-year license agreement between Metra and the city includes stipulations that the city be responsible for all maintenance such as snow and graffiti removal, along with costs for flagging and signage. Walters said the agreement with Metra is similar to one made by other municipalities, like Deerfield, for their train station projects; maintenance is estimated at anywhere from $500 to $15,000.
"So hopefully the structure is there for more than 50 years," said Alderman George Pandeleon. "What is the city's responsibility if the concrete were to crack? It's likely more than a $500 bill?"
"I know right now (the estimate) it's low, but discussions with Deerfield is they budgeted $15,000 for maintenance since they did their underpass," said Walters. "I don't have updated figures."
The firm HDR Engineering Inc. was chosen from seven bid packages submitted to the city "based on experience, and experience working with Amtrak and Metra," said Walters. "They recently did work on the underpass at Westleigh Road."
Kanapareddy said the next step will be working with the various transportation entities on requirements and gaining input on design to "see what type of structure they'll allow."
Under grant guidelines, Phase I requires an engineering study, plus preparing environmental and planning documents, and submitting applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other departments, and may include:
- Doing soil and subsurface testing.
- Analyzing and evaluating soil surveys and borings to determine location and structural feasibility, plus doing drainage analysis and flood flow histories.
Potential locations for the underpass include constructing it near the parking lot area due to the elevation. The underpass also could be multiuse to accommodate both foot and bike traffic.
The project idea originated two years ago after discussions on safety and a possible Amtrak stop in Lake Forest, followed by an intergovernmental agreement between the city, Metra and other transportation entities.
The project was approved as part of the capital improvement program budget meeting in November 2011 and during a committee-of-the-whole meeting in December 2011.