SALEM — Salem resident Katie Heikkinen doesn’t mind the long walk to the train, which takes commuters out along the North River under a covered walkway that loops around the sprawling construction site of the new Salem train station.
“The only time it bugs me is if I’m three minutes from the train,” she said.
In mid-July, the opening of the new “south platform” should lessen the long walk for commuters trying to catch the train, even before the garage and new station open this fall.
The $44.5 million project started in July 2013 with months of site preparation and foundation work. The five-level garage began to rise from the ground in May.
The station will have more than 700 parking spaces, a nine-car-high level platform, a lobby and two elevators, among its many amenities. A high platform allows commuters to board the train without having to climb up into it.
The most visible sign of the project so far has been the red-brick facade mushrooming off Bridge Street and visible from downtown Salem.
What may not be evident is that workers are building the south platform along the tracks next to the new station.
When the south platform opens sometime in mid-July, says Lynn Duncan, there should be a much shorter walk to get to the train, Lynn Duncan, director of Planning and Community Development said.
The plan is to complete this section of platform closest to Bridge Street first, before the rest of the platform and station are opened in October, Duncan said.
Eventually, the station will include a new covered pedestrian bridge and walkway from Bridge Street to a staircase leading down to the south platform. The supports for this bridge can be seen rising from the ground.