A joint venture (JV) of Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives (IEA) subsidiary Ragnar Benson and FH Paschen is set to deliver a railway expansion project in the US state of Indiana.

The contract for the $550m West Lake Corridor rail expansion project was awarded by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD).

As agreed, the JV will serve as the design-build construction team for the project that will connect north-west Indiana to Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.

Overall, the project includes the development of an eight-mile single-track branch extension of the existing South Shore rail line and four additional rail stations.

The scope of works for the Ragnar Benson-FH Paschen JV will also include the construction of a maintenance and storage facility with a layover yard and three traction power substations.

NICTD’s West Lake Corridor project manager Chris Beck said: “NICTD is excited to be working with the Ragnar Benson-FH Paschen JV team to build this monumental project, which is so important to residents of Indiana.

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“Designing and building a commuter railroad involves many complicated civil and electrical aspects, and we are confident that together the team will be very successful.”

The project is expected to complete in October 2024.

Once complete, the extension is expected to improve connectivity and provide access to jobs in Chicago and other areas of Lake County. It is also expected to boost the local economy by creating business opportunities in station areas.

IEA executive vice-president Brian Hummer said: “Through this important contract, IEA continues to strengthen our position in the rail construction market.

“We are honoured to partner with FH Paschen in our home state of Indiana to provide faster and more economical access to Chicago.”

In the JV, Ragnar Benson owns around 30%.