Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Metra approves final design for CREATE's Englewood Flyover

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The CREATE Program partners are pleased to announce that the Chicago area's Metra Board of Directors has approved the final design contract for the 63rd and State Improvement Project (CREATE Project P1, Englewood Flyover). TranSystems Corp. was awarded the $5.65-million contract. The flyover will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island commuter rail line over the east-west Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line (a federally designated High Speed Rail Corridor), eliminating conflict between 68 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that presently cross at grade each day.

On Jan. 29, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Richard J. Daley announced a federal grant award of $133 million for this project as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act High Speed Rail grants. This contract will keep the project on schedule to be completed in 2012 as required under the terms of the award.

This crossing is a significant source of delay for existing Amtrak trains from Michigan and points east, as well as for Norfolk Southern freight trains. By eliminating many of these delays, the project will reduce locomotive engine idling, cutting emissions and improving air quality.

The Englewood Flyover also must be built and in operation before two adjacent CREATE projects can be completed. The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, including CREATE projects EW2, P2, P3 and GS19, will reroute 30 daily SouthWest Service trains to the Rock Island District tracks and through the flyover location. The Grand Crossing Project (CREATE Project P4) will divert six daily Amtrak trains to the NS Chicago Line and through the flyover location. Without the Englewood Flyover in place, implementation of these future CREATE projects would result in increased delays at the existing Englewood interlocking.

Initiated in 2003, the CREATE Program is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to address freight, commuter, and intercity passenger rail congestion in the Chicago area. The CREATE Partners include the Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads representing BNSF, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, the switching railroads Belt Railway Company of Chicago and Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, as well as Amtrak and the commuter railroad Metra. The $3-billion program comprises 71 critically needed rail and highway infrastructure improvements in Northeastern Illinois, aimed at reducing congestion and improving the quality of life of area residents and increasing the efficiency of freight and passenger rail service throughout the region and across the United States.

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