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Metra kicks off Fox River Bridge replacement project

The 136-year-old bridge is the only single-track segment on Metra's Milwaukee West Line.
Photo – Mark Llanuza

Metra, local and federal officials last week broke ground on the Chicago commuter railroad's $34 million project to construct a new bridge over the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois.

The project is designed to remove a rail chokepoint between freight and passenger trains. The bridge construction is being funded in part by a $14 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. Metra will contribute $14 million, while Canadian Pacific will provide $6 million toward the project.

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) helped Metra secure the TIGER funding, Metra officials said in a press release.

"Investing in our state's infrastructure is one of the most important things we can do to move Illinois forward," said Duckworth, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony. "This project, which will use a significant infusion of federal TIGER funds to replace the 136-year-old Fox River Bridge, will improve safety and relieve congestion."

In September, Metra's board awarded a $21.6 million contract to Illinois Constructors Corp. to build the new bridge. The company will replace the existing single-track bridge with a double-track bridge built to modern standards. The contract covers the bridge structure. Metra crews will build and install the track and signals.

Located about 35 miles from downtown Chicago, the bridge carries 54 Metra trains and up to eight CP freight trains each weekday. It is the only single-track segment on Metra's Milwaukee West Line.

To learn more about the Fox River Bridge and other rail bridge projects, read this feature in Progressive Railroading's November issue.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/20/2017