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10/18/2012    



Maintenance Of Way Article
CREATE program caps off another Chicago-area grade separation



Maintenance Of Way
Yesterday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, BNSF Railway Co. and Metra representatives, and other state and local officials marked the completion of the Belmont Road grade separation in Downers Grove, Ill., which is part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program.

The $60 million project eliminated a "troublesome and dangerous" intersection between the four-lane Belmont Road and three BNSF tracks that are used by 150 Amtrak, Metra and BNSF trains daily, CREATE officials said in a prepared statement. Known as CREATE project GS7, the grade separation involved the construction of an underpass for Belmont Road, new bridges to carry the tracks over the underpass and a new bridge to carry Warren/Burlington Avenue over Belmont Road.

The project improves safety, eases traffic congestion, improves the flow of traffic around the nearby Belmont commuter station and increases the amount of parking available to commuters at the station, CREATE officials said.

Planning for the grade separation project began more than a decade ago and involved collaboration among multiple entities, including Metra, BNSF, Downers Grove, DuPage County, the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Federal Transit Administration.

The $3.2 billion CREATE program involves 70 projects designed to separate freight and passenger trains at six key junctions in the Chicago area, increase rail capacity, speed and reliability, and eliminate 25 grade crossings. The program is managed by a public-private partnership among Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, BNSF, Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, Chicago DOT, Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX Transportation, IDOT, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad and U.S. DOT.

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