Get ready Libertyville Metra commuters for train station “platform moving day.” It will begin around May 15.
That’s when Metra will begin relocating, rehabilitating and extending its long-planned station platform, moving it further west of the Libertyville train station to enhance safety by clearing trains from Milwaukee Avenue railroad gates that have clogged traffic there for years.
The Libertyville station will remain open, and trains will continue to run on their normal schedules during the construction period.
“This project is designed to eliminate traffic congestion on Milwaukee Avenue," said Mike Gillis, a Metra media spokesperson.
“It will allow the Milwaukee Avenue crossing signals and gates to cycle back up when an outbound train [towards Fox Lake] is stopped at the station. This will be particularly helpful to both vehicle drivers and train commuters when de-boarding at Libertyville during the busy early evening rush-hour commute,” he said.
Gillis said to accomplish the project, Metra will need temporary use of about 15 commuter parking spaces in the far northwest corner of the main commuter lot, near the train station.
“It will be used to store construction materials necessary to complete the job,” he said.
Gillis said usually between 10 and 20 commuter spaces are open in the lot. However, in the event of commuter parking lot overflow, he suggests that commuters also consider alternative parking at other locations near the station for the next four months just in case the lot fills up.
He also suggests using the ample parking available at the Prairie Crossing/Libertyville Station as an alternative.
Relocation Done in Fall
Work will involve tearing up the existing asphalt platform, then replacing, extending and shifting it westward, extending possibilities for trains to stop further away from the busy arterial. Eventually, the train station itself will also be refurbished and relocated further west in line with the new platform.
Metra engineers indicate estimated cost for the project is $427,000. Work beginning this month should be completed by early fall, Gillis said.
Spoden said both Metra and village officials have had many concerns about the unsafe congestion that backs up on Milwaukee Avenue when train gates suddenly block traffic.
“Moving the platform away from this busy road is a good move. It will give Metra trains more room to stop at the station without blocking traffic. It will also be safer for the public," Spoden said.
Spoden indicates that the village’s comprehensive zoning master plan eventually calls for redevelopment of the entire Trimm Property that the Metra station borders on.
The area was once zoned industrial, however, new village plans call for extensive residential and commercial redevelopment, including a new Metra train station, an expanded commuter parking lot, and encouraging private developers to propose new condominium and other housing and retail developments on vacant land that once was a factory.