After years of planning—and funding-related delays—the Auburn Park Metra station is one step closer to becoming a reality in the Auburn Gresham community on Chicago's South Side. 

This week, Metra's board of directors awarded a $28.2 million construction contract to John Burns Construction. The new station has been under discussion since at least 2009. Local officials joined Metra for a groundbreaking ceremony in 2019, but actual work has yet to begin. The transit agency put the project out to bid in May.

The upcoming station will be located southeast corner of 79th Street and Lowe Avenue and service Metra's Rock Island Line. The site plan calls for a landscaped plaza with bicycle racks and benches, an 80-space parking lot, and an elevated platform accessed by stairs and elevators. Metra tapped T.Y. Lin International to design the facility. 

Google Street View

The project will restore commuter rail service to the area around 79th Street, which has been without a station since the Rock Island Railroad closed in 1978 and was absorbed by the Regional Transit Agency (RTA). Preliminary work on the station will begin this fall and ramp-up in early 2022.

The transit improvement is also a short walk from the planned Auburn Gardens mixed-use affordable housing development—part of the city's INVEST South/West initiative aimed at revitalizing commercial corridors in historically underserved neighborhoods. 

A rendering of the Auburn Park Metra station. Metra