MILWAUKEE – Federal, state and local officials gathered at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (MIS) on the morning of June 22, 2016, to celebrate the grand opening of the reconstructed train passenger concourse.
Event speakers included Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb; Amtrak Senior Director of State Contracts Michael Franke; IndependenceFirst President/CEO Lee Schulz; and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy.
The $22 million, 18 month project ensures that the concourse provides easy access for all passengers. It also resembles the modern architectural aesthetic of the MIS, which was extensively remodeled in 2007 to include a three-story, glass-enclosed atrium, new lobby area and commercial spaces.
According to WisDOT, which owns the intermodal station, the 400 foot long enclosed concourse now features a custom fabricated 3-D tubular truss roof with skylights, a mezzanine spanning five tracks and three boarding platforms and a new ventilation system. New stairways, escalators and elevators improve passenger flow, while bright lighting and signage enhance wayfinding. The facility also includes state-of-the-art hearing technology for customers who are hard of hearing.
The MIS is served daily by multiple Hiawatha Service (Milwaukee-Chicago) trains and the Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle/Portland). In Fiscal Year 2015, more than 594,000 Amtrak passengers began or ended their journeys at the MIS. The Hiawatha Service, financed primarily through funds made available by WisDOT and the Illinois State Department of Transportation, carried almost 800,000 customers last year and was the busiest corridor service in the Midwest. Altogether, the MIS accommodates more than 1.3 million rail and intercity and local bus passengers every year.