For many years, the existing Milwaukee Intermodal Station Passenger Train Concourse operated in a state of disrepair and was not in compliance with modern ADA standards. This required a high volume of passengers to pass through a poorly lit, deteriorating structure. That all changed in June 2016 when the fully renovated, $22 million facility debuted. As a drastically improved, state-of-the-art multimodal transportation gateway to the City of Milwaukee, the facility now hosts nearly two dozen trains a day under the roof of a significantly improved, modernized and accessible structure. To transform the facility, which was originally built in 1965, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) enlisted the joint venture team of Alfred Benesch & Company (Benesch) and GRAEF to develop a design fitting Milwaukee’s long-term vision as a regional transportation hub. The project required extensive coordination with WisDOT, USDOT, Canadian Pacific Rail, Amtrak and the City of Milwaukee to successfully reconstruct the station while maintaining operations of all freight and passenger rail traffic.
Other major project challenges were the implementation of ADA, technological and sustainable upgrades throughout the facility. Over the course of a preliminary study and final design, the prevailing solution satisfied the project’s needs for ADA compliance, safety and sustainability. Highlights include: natural lighting via large skylights; a wind-driven ventilator; new structural mezzanine, escalators and elevators; nighttime lighting through column-mounted lights; platform lighting with spaced bollards; and pedestrian kiosks streaming live travel information. In addition, the new station features hearing loop technology, enabling the hearing impaired with smart-enabled hearing aids and cochlear implants to clearly hear system announcements. Other noteworthy project achievements included the reuse of existing timber foundations and successful use of existing track configurations during construction, thus avoiding costly relocations. The new Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Passenger Train Concourse create a truly modern and appealing gateway for passengers traveling to and from the City of Milwaukee. This will further benefit the City’s residents and workforce with its potential to accommodate long-term passenger growth and commuter service.