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The Illinois Department of Transportation will soon receive and administer $70 million in federal funding for a Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program project designed to modernize two miles of rail lines that provide a critical connection for freight moving across the Chicago area.
The Westside Gateway or Ogden Junction project (CREATE project WA1) entails repairing, replacing or eliminating 16 railroad bridges on the Union Pacific Railroad line that runs along Rockwell Avenue from Fulton to 16th streets. The viaducts below the bridges will also be repaired, repainted and, in some cases, raised in height. New power turnouts and crossovers will be installed to enable an automated path to be controlled by the dispatcher and new friction management equipment.
New control points at Taylor Street, Ogden Avenue and 16th Street, along with mainline realignment, will support simultaneous movements between the Union Pacific Railroad, CSX, and Norfolk Southern Railway mainlines. In combination with the bridge improvements, this work will prompt more efficient and safer operating speeds, city of Chicago and CREATE officials said in a press release.
Moreover, thousands of hours of Metra delays are expected to be avoided and freight train operators will experience fewer conflicts and faster speeds due to more visible electronic signals, they said.
"This federal funding will help improve bridges and viaducts that go over local streets on our city's West Side, which will lead to supply chain improvements and enhanced community mobility," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The project's total cost is $170 million. The federal dollars are being issued through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, a competitive grant program for highway, multimodal freight and rail projects.