On November 2, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was joined by local and state officials to open the new 71st Street railroad underpass in Bridgeview, a Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project that will greatly reduce traffic delays and improve safety at the former automobile/rail intersection.
“Nothing frees up traffic flow better than separating car and train traffic and that’s just what we’ve done here in Bridgeview,” Gov. Quinn said. “This project created jobs will make the key route safer and quicker for residents and businesses across the area.”
The $29.8-million project included $20.3 million in funding from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program and $9.5 million from Gov. Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. The work began in June 2011 and the project was one of five regional projects to receive federal and state funds as part of the CREATE partnership.
The grade separation of 71st Street and the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad /CSX tracks just west of Harlem Avenue will alleviate congestion and improve safety on 71st Street, which sees 4,400 vehicles daily. Because of the angle of the railroad tracks entering the nearby Bedford Park Yard, freight trains can only travel from five to 10 mph across 71st Street.