Work begins on Cary's downtown Metra station
Excavation work is underway for construction to begin on the long-awaited Metra station in downtown Cary.
A new 1,800-square-foot train depot will be built, tightly squeezed in between the inbound platform of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Route 14 north of Main Street.
Its architecture will complement Cary's historic downtown and be sustainable where feasible. The building will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and include modern features and a two-way ticketing agent.
Two separate enclosed warming shelters with heating and cooling for waiting areas also are planned on the inbound side.
The goal of this upgrade is "to make it more convenient and safer for our commuters," Cary Village Administrator Jacob Rife said.
A majority of Metra riders who take the train into Chicago will be able to purchase their tickets, wait for and catch the train from the same side of the tracks, he added.
Metra's Cary station was last updated in the 1980s and serves on average roughly 900 weekday boardings. It comprises an outdated depot with a ticket agent office, storage area and waiting room. Commuter parking -- owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad -- is located on the southwest, outbound side of the tracks. Riders must cross the tracks to reach the inbound platform.
Three small open-sided shelters are situated along the inbound platform where a majority of commuters await the train into downtown Chicago. They do not provide adequate protection from harsh weather, forcing some commuters to wait to cross the tracks until just before the train arrives, documents show.
Workers will begin pouring the building's foundation within the next week or so, weather permitting. Officials plan for the station to be ready this fall.
"Once the new building is completed and fully operational, the old building will be demolished," Rife said.
The project is estimated to cost roughly $3 million, funded primarily through a $2 million federal grant.
The village will be covering roughly $1 million through its commuter parking fund revenues.
"The village has been saving for this for quite some time here," Rife said. "It has been a priority project going back several years and we're really excited to see it come to fruition."