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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Grade separation, freight-movement studies advance in Illinois


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced an allocation of more than $4.2 million for a grade separation project in O’Fallon that's part of the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program.

The project calls for building an overpass for Venita Drive over CSX Transportation tracks, reconstructing the Venita Drive and U.S. Route 50 intersection, and relocating roads in the area. Kilian Corp. submitted the lowest bid of $4.2 million for the project, which will be overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

“Our investment will separate vehicle and train traffic at a key O’Fallon intersection, making travel safer and eliminating many traffic delays,” said Quinn in a press release.

The largest construction program in Illinois' history, the $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program is projected to support more than 439,000 jobs over six years.

Meanwhile, IDOT and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) earlier this week pledged funding for studies that will examine how to increase and better handle freight moving through Decatur and Macon counties. The studies also will analyze ways to capitalize on multi-modal shipping growth at the region’s Midwest Inland Port and at an Archer Daniels Midland Co. plant, which has expanded its intermodal shipping complex.

The first study will focus on industrial transportation, and will be followed by one that examines infrastructure needs. Expected to take about 18 months to complete, the studies will incorporate forecasted trends in freight movement and how they could affect the Decatur region’s rail lines, industrial parks, brownfields, and state and local highways. A specific emphasis will be placed on freight movements relating to hydraulic fracturing, sand and frac sand, grain, agriculture and manufacturing, IDOT and IDCEO officials said in a press release.

The city of Decatur will oversee the studies and select a consultant to conduct them. The findings will help the region maximize its strength in logistics and transportation, and promote job growth, IDOT and IDCEO officials said.

"[IDOT] is committed to improving the flow of freight involving all appropriate modes of transportation throughout the state," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. "This study will help to identify and create more seamless multi-modal transportation connections that will provide sustainable benefits to the environment and the community, while further enhancing the vital role freight plays in the local and state economies."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/4/2014