Local and federal officials gathered on Thursday, August 21, 2014, for a ground-breaking ceremony of a underpass at Carpenter Street in Springfield, Ill. The grade separation is part of a larger rail project that will consolidate rail traffic and improve safety as part of the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed corridor.
In 2013, the project was awarded a $14.4-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which will cover most of the cost of the $20-million Carpenter Street work.
Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo, who attended the ceremony, wrote in a blog for the U.S. Department of Transportation, “I visited Springfield, Illinois for the groundbreaking of the Carpenter Street Underpass – supported by DOT’s TIGER program – that is a key part of the city’s vision to improve the safety and quality of life for its residents. By building this underpass, three rail crossings will close. And it’s the first step of a larger effort – the Springfield Improvement Project pringfield Improvement Project – that will consolidate rail traffic moving through the city to a more efficient route, build nine new underpasses and close 36 crossings. At full build-out, emergency access to Springfield’s two hospitals will improve and chronic train horn noise will become a thing of the past. But, full build-out requires more funding.
“Projects [such as the Carpenter Street project] not only improve safety and rail service, but they are critically important for the surrounding communities. As the quality of life improves for their residents, vehicle and pedestrian flows are improved, economic opportunities follow and communities can begin growing again.”