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CityLink’s new maintenance and operations building targeted for summer 2023 completion

A modernized bus maintenance garage and new office space for CityLink should be ready by next summer, with an annex and storage garage set to be completed by the end of 2023.

“This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility by the time we get done,” CityLink General Manager Doug Roelfs said Thursday following a groundbreaking ceremony signaling the start of the second phase of a $50 million renovation project at the NE Jefferson Street site in Peoria.

“Hopefully, we're keeping up with the evolving trends that are coming, electrification of our vehicles and the training simulators. I think that'll be a big boost to for the area.”

The second phase is partially funded by grants totaling $26.9 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation through the Rebuild Illinois program. State Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said that shows IDOT's commitment to improving downstate transit systems.

“Transit is critical, we all know that. It’s a critical lifeline here in Peoria, and around our state,” said Osman. “In many, many cases, it is the only option connecting our residents to their jobs, schools, medical providers, and other essential surfaces. This project is clearly a win-win for our region here.”

Roelfs said the plans for a new bus garage originated in 2016 and it’s taken time to overcome hurdles for the project to come to fruition. He said CityLink's original bus maintenance facility built in 1978 was well overdue for a replacement.

“We've got the oldest transit maintenance shop in the state of Illinois. There's hoists and lifts in there that can't even raise a bus high enough now, so we've had to modify things and move things around,” said Roelfs.

The three-story maintenance, operations and administration building will feature 10 maintenance bays, including eight with lifts and one with an overhead crane. The pull-through bays are intended to cut down on reverse bus movements and improve safety.

Additionally, a training center will have a dedicated classroom and a separate simulation room. The completed first phase of the project consisted of a paint and body shop using advanced technology to provide safer working conditions.

“The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District will see improved safety, which is extremely critical, in operations almost immediately. But they will also be prepared to grow and evolve as technology and travel patterns continue to change rapidly,” said Osman.

Phase B work includes demolition of the 1978 facility, which has already begun and is expected to take up to five weeks. Completion of the second phase is targeted for summer 2023; the final two phases, consisting of renovating the south storage facility and building a connecting annex, should be finished by December.

IDOT awarded an $8 million grant for the project this year after an initial $12.4 million in 2020; an additional $6 million comes from IDOT through local match support funding. The Federal Transit Administration provided another $13.6 million in supplemental dollars as part of the Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program.

“It is just another example of how Rebuild Illinois is working with communities throughout the state to expand and improve surfaces, increase transportation options, and enhance quality of life,” said Osman. “This project right here is a model for other transit systems in the state and the nation as a whole. It is an example of what can happen when ideas and commitment at the local level expand to involve multiple partners working together to arrive at a solution that helps people.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.