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Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program partners and federal, state and local officials yesterday marked the opening of the $133 million Englewood Flyover in the Chicago area.The major railroad bridge — the CREATE program's second-largest project — replaced a grade crossing between Metra Rock Island and Norfolk Southern Railway tracks at 63rd and State streets. Now, 78 weekday Rock Island Line trains use the bridge to pass over busy tracks used by about 60 freight and Amtrak trains daily."The Englewood flyover is one of the pillars of the CREATE program and helps to strengthen Chicago and Illinois as the transportation hub of North America," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in a press release.The flyover was funded by $126 million from the Federal Railroad Administration’s High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, $4.9 million from other federal sources, $8.2 million from the state of Illinois and $3 million from railroads, including Metra."Our riders are already enjoying the benefits of passing through this area without experiencing any delays due to conflicts with freight or Amtrak trains," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno.The flyover is the first CREATE project to reduce conflicts between passenger and freight trains in the Englewood area and prepare the corridor to accommodate high-speed rail service. The bridge lays the groundwork for two more CREATE projects: A 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project designed to divert trains on Metra’s Southwest Service to the Rock Island District at a point south of Englewood; and a Grand Crossing Project designed to divert six daily Amtrak trains to NS tracks east of Englewood. With the flyover in service, the two projects now can move forward without creating further bottlenecks at the busy Englewood interlocker, CREATE officials said."It's impossible to overstate the positive impact this project will have on Norfolk Southern’s service, along with Amtrak’s and Metra’s," said NS Chairman and CEO Wick Moorman. "Not only will this project eliminate many hours in freight and passenger train delays daily, but it frees up additional capacity for all of us to continue to grow our business."The CREATE program's public and private partners include Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, BNSF Railway Co., CSX Transportation, CN, Canadian Pacific, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., Metra, NS, Union Pacific Railroad, and the Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation.
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