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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Intergovernmental agreement advances high-speed rail project in Illinois


Yesterday, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Springfield-area officials announced an intergovernmental cooperation agreement has been reached to advance high-speed rail design work on the 10th Street Corridor in Springfield, Ill.

The agreement between IDOT, the city of Springfield and Sangamon County calls for IDOT to commit up to $8.65 million to support about half of the total design cost for the corridor's rail improvements. The funding is part of Gov. Pat Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, state and local officials said in a joint press release issued by the governor's office and IDOT.

"Springfield is a vital connection for high-speed rail in Illinois," Quinn said. "This commitment advances our work with cities along the Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor to upgrade rail service, improve infrastructure for safer travel and bring jobs and businesses to Illinois."

The location of the high-speed tracks through Springfield is crucial to the city's future, said Mayor Michael Houston.

"By moving the rail traffic from the 3rd Street tracks to the 10th Street corridor, we will be using the safest corridor that provides the best east-west flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and will eliminate the rest of the train whistles in Springfield after 3rd Street becomes a quiet zone," he said.

The 10th Street corridor consolidation project through Springfield and a flyover project just south of the city are part of the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail project. Currently, no funding has been identified for the construction of the projects. However, the state is funding a detailed environmental analysis of the Springfield flyover project, which would involve a new track alignment and rail bridge to eliminate train congestion and crossing delays for vehicular traffic.

The immediate improvements would include the 3rd Street corridor safety enhancements consisting of four-quadrant crossing gates to prevent cars from driving around lowered gates, new crossing approaches, and fencing and bridge upgrades to improve rail traffic flow and increase safety in the area until construction is completed on the 10th Street corridor, state and local officials said.

The safety improvements will satisfy requirements needed for the city to apply for a quiet zone. The 3rd Street improvements are fully funded by the federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, with additional contributions from the state and Union Pacific Railroad.

About $1.75 billion in passenger-rail improvements are being completed within the Chicago-to-St. Louis corridor by IDOT, UP and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/6/2013