New Eau Claire Transit Transfer Center opening delayed

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:27 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Last September, construction started on Eau Claire Transit’s Transfer Center in downtown.

The project plan included a space for riders to wait for buses, parking and three levels of affordable housing.

To make this plan a reality, the city said it’s going to take more time. As construction continues on a new transit transfer center in downtown Eau Claire, the timeline for when the project could be done has changed.

While work on the transfer center itself is still expected to be complete by the end of this year, the city is still working to sign a deal with a developer for the housing on top of the center.

“It’s been a challenging project going through this process,” said Aaron White, the City of Eau Claire’s Economic Development Manager. “COVID and construction delays, logistics delays, increases in material costs across the board have made it very challenging to take on what was a challenging project to begin with.”

Even without those obstacles, Aaron White with the City of Eau Claire said building on top of the center has its own added costs.

“In this project, those three stories are sitting on top of 40 feet of concrete, and so it has some of the infrastructure requirements, you know, elevator shaft for a 5-story building when it’s only three stories of residential because you’re moving through the transit space and two stories of parking space,” White said.

Those added layers also impact the cost of other things too like stairwells and utility lines.

With the original developer backing out of the deal, the city said it’s been working with a second company on an agreement for the project.

Part of the work on the housing needs to be complete before Eau Claire Transit buses can start using the facility.

“When they’re constructing the facility above, they have to have the streets closed off because they have to be able to have a place to mobilize their equipment, and so forth, and there’s going to be a crane that needs to still be there, and so the streets are going to have to remain closed,” said Thomas Wagener, the City of Eau Claire Transit Manager. “If the streets are closed, we’re not going to be able to get in and out of the transfer center.”

Once work does begin on the housing portion of the project, Wagener said it’ll take about eight months to complete what’s necessary to reopen the streets for the buses to use the center.

The transfer center was originally set to begin service in September of 2023. That opening date has been moved to June of 2024.

The city said it is close to finalizing a deal with a developer for the housing project.