KANKAKEE – Progress is underway on the long-awaited Kankakee Metro Center bus transfer station, which is now expected to be completed and ready for use by mid to late spring 2022.
Ken Munjoy, chief operating officer of the River Valley Metro Mass Transit District, said he plans to have the downtown Kankakee complex – which is under construction on East Chestnut Street between the 300 blocks of North Schuyler Avenues and North Dearborn – will be completed later this year, barring inclement weather or material shipment delays.
“It’s actually progressing pretty well,” Munjoy said. “Most of the concrete work is done. Masonry is underway as we speak.
When the project was announced, it was expected to cost around $ 4 million, with $ 1.6 million from the state of Illinois and $ 2.4 million from the federal government.
The federal CARES law meant that all funding was paid and two planned construction phases were reduced to one.
Apex Construction Group, the general contractor for the project, began in the summer of 2021. Work was initially scheduled to be completed later that same year; However, some unforeseen issues were discovered at the job site, Munjoy said.
“This site had been used for a lot of different things over the decades, and some of the things it was used for weren’t in the records anywhere,” Munjoy said. “So when they started digging there for our structure, they started to come across things like, there were underground basements there that nobody knew about. “
Having to remove the concrete from the basement pushed their work into the fall and therefore made it impossible to finish by the end of 2021, he said.
“For that to happen in 2021, everything had to be fine,” Munjoy said. “When you build on an old site like this, it’s not like building on a new site. “
Some of the steel needed to complete the walls of a small structure within the complex is not yet available, so shipping the materials could cause more issues with the timeline.
“It’s just a matter of getting it, and I don’t know how long it will take,” Munjoy said. He added that he does not expect this to cause “any major delay”.
The station will feature overhead cover to protect passengers from the elements as well as heated walkways leading from the waiting area to the buses.
Heating will reduce the risk of snow and ice accumulation on the walkways.
“We take everything into account to ensure the comfort and safety of our runners,” said Munjoy.
While these features need to be completed, Munjoy noted that the site is starting to take shape.
“This is where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
He said it is exciting to see this particular property in Kankakee under development as it has been vacant for some time. He said one of the goals of the project is to stay consistent with the design qualities that have been added to the area in recent years, such as lighting.
He also noted that a new transfer center in downtown Kankakee has been in the works for a long time, with the former managing director of River Valley Metro working on the idea since the mid-2000s or so.
A number of sites have been offered in the past, but for one reason or another none of them have worked.
“This one finally came together, and we’re really happy because we’ve been serving this area as a bus transfer station for years, but we had to do it on the street,” Munjoy said. “We want to be able to get these buses off the street – for better convenience for our passengers and more safety. “