The $60 million project eliminated a troublesome and dangerous intersection between the four-lane Belmont Road, a major north-south artery through Downers Grove and DuPage County and three BNSF Railway tracks, which carry approximately 150 commuter and freight trains every day.
The road and rails were separated by digging an underpass for Belmont Road and by building new bridges to carry the tracks over the underpass, all of which was done while the road and rails were still open to traffic. The project also included building a new bridge to carry Warren/Burlington Avenue over Belmont Road and feeder ramps to connect that bridge to Belmont.
Planning for the grade separation project began more than a decade ago and involved a special collaboration among multiple entities, including Metra, BNSF, Downers Grove, DuPage County, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.
Phase One construction was completed in 2009, when Pan-Oceanic Engineering relocated existing utilities in the area and created new commuter parking lots. Work on the underpass and bridges began in 2010 and was carried out by Lorig Construction. The work was done with only temporary disruptions to traffic on Belmont Road and to commuter trains and passengers.
The Belmont Road grade separation project is part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program (CREATE Project GS7). CREATE is a partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation, the state of Illinois, city of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak and the nation's freight railroads to increase the efficiency of the Chicago region's passenger and freight rail infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for Chicago area residents.