Milwaukee Station Train Shed

Wisconsin Department of Transportation | Milwaukee, WI
train shed

For many years, the existing Milwaukee Intermodal Station Passenger Train Concourse operated in a state of disrepair and was not in compliance with modern ADA standards. This required a high volume of passengers to pass through a poorly lit, deteriorating structure. To transform the facility, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) enlisted Benesch, as part of a joint venture, to develop a design that fit Milwaukee’s long-term vision as a regional transportation hub.

This $22 million endeavor included ADA, technological and sustainable upgrades throughout the facility. Through extensive coordination with WisDOT, USDOT, Canadian Pacific Rail, Amtrak and the City of Milwaukee, the station was successfully reconstructed while all freight and passenger rail traffic operations were maintained.

During preliminary design, Benesch used Value Planning techniques to investigate the condition of the shed and evaluate replacement /rehabilitation options, as well as the requirements to bring the facility into ADA compliance. Work included structural and environmental inspections, utility searches, soils investigation and train operations. Timetabling was required for capacity, platform access, emergency egress and ADA compliance. The adopted design alternative was reconstruction of the shed with the addition of a new pedestrian mezzanine system for platform access.

Noteworthy project achievements included the reuse of existing timber foundations and the successful use of existing track configurations during construction, thus avoiding costly relocations. In addition, hearing loop technology is featured through the station, enabling the hearing impaired with smart-enabled hearing aids and cochlear implants to hear system announcements clearly.

Additional project highlights include natural lighting via large skylights; a wind-driven ventilator; new structural mezzanine, escalators and elevators; nighttime lighting through column-mounted lights; platform lighting with spaced bollards; and pedestrian kiosks streaming live travel information.

The new, state-of-the-art multi-modal transportation facility now hosts nearly two dozen trains a day under the roof of a significantly improved, modernized and accessible structure.


  • 2017, Top Projects of 2016 and 'Best in Show', The Daily Reporter
  • 2017, Real Estate Award - Best Renovation, Milwaukee Business Journal
  • 2017, Midwest Regional Best Project (Airports/Transit), Engineering News Record
  • 2017, State Finalist Award, American Council of Engineering Companies - Wisconsin