Pace celebrates opening of Plainfield maintenance and storage garage

July 22, 2022
The facility is Pace’s first new fixed-route garage in more than three decades and will allow for the expansion of its Bus on Shoulder Express Service.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held July 21 to mark the completion of Pace’s new maintenance and storage garage near the bus company’s Plainfield Park-n-Ride facility. The event was attended by officials from Pace, the state of Illinois, Will County, the village of Plainfield, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and Northern Builders, Inc.

The $52 million facility is built on an 11.92-acre site was funded by Pace using resources from the state’s Rebuild Illinois Capital Program. Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski welcomed attendees and noted how important support from the state of Illinois was in making this service and building a reality.

“We owe much of our success with Pace’s Bus on Shoulder program to our state’s leaders, who were bold enough to test buses operating on the shoulder in 2011, to make it permanent in 2014, and then to invest in modernizing the program’s infrastructure through the Rebuild Illinois bill—which is what we are here to celebrate today,” he said.

Construction began on the facility in January 2021. Pace joins the village of Plainfield and Northern Builders, Inc. as part of their Depot Drive Public-Private Partnership, where Northern Builders, Inc., serves as the design-build contractor to design and construct the facility.

“This forward-thinking investment by Pace is empowering Will County’s growth by offering more transportation options for our residents. I was proud to support the Bus-on-Shoulder express services as a State Senator and I appreciate Pace’s efforts to expand this service locally,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

This facility, which will begin operations this fall, will allow for the expansion of Pace’s Bus on Shoulder Express Service and create space for additional vehicles needed to operate the service, which takes commuters from various south region park-n-rides to downtown Chicago using the shoulder on I-55 to bypass congestion. Pre-pandemic, ridership on the service grew more than 600 percent since the implementation of shoulder use in 2011. The service again seeing full parking lots and buses as riders return.

“In 2011, the state of Illinois passed forward-thinking legislation that allowed us to start our Bus on Shoulder Express Service. This service sails past traffic, offering direct routes with trip times that are often faster than driving. That is public transportation at its finest,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. “Bus on Shoulder passengers can transfer to CTA and Metra to get from the southwest suburbs to virtually anywhere in Chicagoland. The RTA is proud to support this investment, which benefits the entire region.”

Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger close the program before inviting attendees to help cut the ribbon on the new facility.

“Because of the support we’ve received on local, regional and state levels, we are standing in Pace’s first new fixed-route garage in more than 30 years,” she said. “This facility is a win-win-win for our passengers, for our employees, and for our whole region.”

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