The transfer center is the first phase of the Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Center, an $80 million project designed to bring together Amtrak trains, SMTD buses, paratransit vehicles, airport shuttles and taxis just northeast of the Sangamon County building on Ninth Street.
R.D. Lawrence submitted a bid for $13.26 million.
The company was the project’s only bidder, confirmed county board chairman Andy Van Meter, following the special board meeting.
Five firms in all were” interested” in the project, Van Meter said, but it presented some “unusual” time constraints that may have chased other firms off.
Board members were worried until the bid was open, but R.D. Lawrence offered “an excellent bid that was within 2% (of the cost) Hanson Engineers laid out,” Van Meter said. “We have every degree of confidence that this is a very competitive bid.”
Hanson Engineers is responsible for providing overall engineering design services and management for the $356 million Springfield Rail Improvements Project, which seeks to alleviate rail congestion in downtown Springfield by consolidating train traffic from Third Street to 10th Street.
The transportation center is part of that overall project.
R.D. Lawrence’s high-profile work includes repairs to The Coliseum (now The Coliseum of Champions) at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and a renovation of the Governor’s Mansion.
R.D. Lawrence president John Goetz said the project will be headed up by Aaron Gorbett.
“We have to issue all of our sub-contracts and purchase orders with suppliers,” Gorbett said. “After we receive those back, work could start. There’s a little bit of demolition to do and a little bit of upgrade to some existing parking lots where the (temporary bus transfer station will go) until the overall project is completed.”
Gorbett said about 20 to 25 workers will be part of the project through its completion, scheduled for February 2023. At other junctures of the project, that workforce will increase, Gorbett said.
“It’s a fantastic firm to be working with,” Van Meter said. “(Its) sub-contractors are primarily local as well, employing local people.”
SMTD moved its transfer center to 11th Street between Adams and Washington streets from Fifth Street and Capitol Avenue in early 2019. It was seen as a “stopgap” before construction of the center.
Part of the transfer center is another building that will allow riders to purchase bus tickets and food, said Sangamon County administrator Brian McFadden. There will also be some SMTD dispatch operations and offices for those working on the construction site.
Time is of the essence, McFadden added, because prices of material are “very volatile. It is a pretty aggressive schedule as far as getting the new asphalt surface in place. That has to get done probably before November.”
A parking garage, Amtrak station, SMTD transfer center and county building will all be connected and covered. The parking garage will be for county employees and visitors and Amtrak riders and will have a drop-off area for passengers.
The center will include a grand stairway that will serve as a waiting, meeting and gathering area and a second-floor exhibit space will document information about the 1908 Springfield Race Riots, supplementing a proposed Race Riot memorial.
The county building eventually will move its main entrance to the north side, accessible by The Hub which will also be the entrance to the to the Amtrak building and to the parking garage.
Work is slated to begin on the center and parking garage in 2023 with completion by 2024.
Van Meter said the transportation center will be more than place where buses and trains drop people off and pick people up.
“There are going to be art installations. There are going to be opportunities for perhaps performance venues,” Van Meter said. “We hope this becomes a focal point for the community, a place where people can express themselves and enjoy themselves as well as a place they can get easily from one corner of the community to another or, for that matter, from one corner of the state to another.”
Gorbett added that the center overall is “a unique design.”
“There’s nothing like it around here, just the overall aesthetic appearance of the structure itself,” Gorbett said. “It will be a good addition to the city.”
McFadden said county leaders feel good about not only the transportation center, but the rail project in general.
“The key always from the beginning was to get so much momentum behind the project that it can’t be stopped. We feel we’ve definitely accomplished that,” he said. “We have everybody pulling in the same direction, the community, our federal and state officials, regardless of party affiliation.
“It’s been a very bipartisan approach.”
The public got a first look at plans for the transportation center in March. More information is at rail improvements project website.
Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie