WALLINGFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy donned a hard hat and orange safety vest in 90-degree weather to tour the framework of the new train station Wednesday afternoon.
“This project will attract businesses and grow jobs and help us move into the future,” Malloy said. “Ultimately this is about making Connecticut a better place to do business.”
The $640 million project includes updating train stations along the New Haven to Springfield line and adding a second track. Workers have been making progress in the area in recent weeks, constructing track beds, laying down rail and preparing for a track-laying machine to complete the 10-mile stretch between North Haven and Meriden in September.
Malloy said 50 percent of upgrades to the tracks have been completed along the line, which is expected to be finished by January 2018.
Eighty percent of train station foundations and platforms are in place and 100 percent of the steel beams and pedestrian bridges have been installed, Malloy said. Construction has also begun on parking lots for the new stations.
Once the line is completed from New Haven to Hartford, Malloy said the volume of commuters is expected to increase from 300,000 to 750,000 a year, with over 1 million riders anticipated once the line has been updated to Springfield.
The number of daily trips between New Haven and Hartford will jump from six trips to 17 and later 25 round trips a day once fully complete to Springfield.
A service provider for the line has not yet been selected, Malloy said.
“Selection of the service provider for this line is ongoing at this time with an announcement of the operator coming this winter,” Malloy said.
Malloy pointed out that the new Wallingford station will be more accessible for commuters with a minimum of 221 parking spaces.
“Obviously that makes the use of our system a lot easier for folks to enjoy,” Malloy said.
Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker was also quick to point out the big change from the old station. A rendering of how the new station will appear was displayed on site, showing a bricked facade with large windows and a pitched roof.
“As you can see it’s a far cry from what it used to be in terms of this facility and what it will bring to our customers,” Redeker said.
State Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, attended the tour and said she believes the new station will have a positive impact on the local economy.
“In Wallingford we’re really excited about this train station. We see it as the ticket to reinvigorate the downtown, to incorporating retail, residential and transit-oriented housing all in the same area,” Mushinsky said. “I personally believe that it will jump start the whole downtown area and be a boon to Wallingford and the region as a whole.”