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CREATE partners cap off significant project in Chicago

In September, Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) partners completed the program’s largest project to date: the Melrose Connection, or CREATE Project B3.

The connection was the first CREATE project to include all major construction components for a new rail segment, such as track, signals and a bridge. The project called for adding a second connection between the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. (IHB) and Union Pacific Railroad’s Proviso Yard.

Trains previously blocked IHB’s mainlines when departing the yard. The new connection enables trains to simultaneously maintain operations on the IHB’s lines and enter or depart the yard, greatly increasing capacity, CREATE officials said in a newsletter released on Friday.

A few months earlier, the partners completed CREATE Project B8, which called for upgrading a 40 year-old signal system along IHB’s corridor from Bedford Park to Summit. Prior to the $4.5 million project, six Metra and 10 Amtrak trains would cross the corridor each weekday and experience delays because of slow-moving freight trains controlled by an antiquated signal system.

Now, cross-traffic and passenger-train delays have been significantly reduced, said the partners, which include Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, BNSF Railway Co., Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, IHB Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway, UP, and the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Transportation.

The partners also announced that Jeffrey Sriver joined the Chicago DOT as CREATE program director on Oct. 1. He most recently was a senior transportation consultant in the Chicago office of Arup, a global engineering and planning firm.

Sriver previously served the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as general manager of strategic planning, GM of construction and manager of resource planning. Prior to joining the CTA, he managed public transit projects in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America for an international consulting firm.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2009