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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Illinois commission OKs major grade separation on BNSF line in Chicago suburb

Yesterday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved a $52.7 million grade separation project at the Belmont Road grade crossing on BNSF Railway Co.'s line in Downers Grove.

Expected to take about three years to complete, the project calls for lowering Belmont Road under three mainline tracks, building a third bridge over the road and lowering an existing pedestrian crossing located about 500 feet west of the crossing.

The commission will provide a $12 million Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) grant — one of the largest in the program's history — to help fund the project. Funded by motor fuel taxes designated for rail safety improvements, the GCPF provides $27 million annually for crossing upgrades and the construction or reconstruction of grade separations. BNSF, the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra) and Illinois Department of Transportation will fund the remaining $40.7 million.

A Metra commuter-rail station is adjacent to Belmont Road, which is used by about 23,000 vehicles daily. In addition, BNSF operates about 160 trains (80 commuter/80 freight) per day through the crossing. The grade separation will eliminate motorists' delays and reduce the number of pedestrians crossing tracks in the area, the ICC said.

DuPage County, the village of Downers Grove and BNSF will be responsible for maintaining the grade separation structures.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/10/2008