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The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program partners yesterday provided details on the $19.1 million federal grant they received for construction of the Archer Avenue grade separation at the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC) tracks in Illinois.
Announced earlier this month, the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant ensures the project is fully funded through construction, CREATE partners said in a press release.
The $61.1 million project calls for reconstructing portions of Archer Avenue and lowering it approximately 15 feet under a new rail bridge to serve the existing BRC tracks. In addition, side paths will be added for people walking and bicycling under the rail bridge, and utilities and sewer lines will be upgraded in the project area along Archer Avenue.
Known as CREATE Program Project GS9, the work will benefit the communities of Archer Heights and Garfield Ridge, Illinois, by reducing delays at the current grade crossing. On an average day, 18,600 vehicles and 259 CTA buses pass through the crossing.
Grade separating the crossing will eliminate delay to more than 2,700 vehicles daily, alleviating nearly 59,600 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains, CREATE officials said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has identified a total of $400 million to invest in additional CREATE projects through Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program.
GS9 is an integral link for connecting to other railroad corridors serving the Chicago region, including an industrial district and intermodal connector directly south in Bedford Park.
"This newest project within the CREATE Program will drive substantive progress in improving safety, increasing mobility for road and rail users and reducing greenhouse gas emissions — ultimately benefiting the community, the environment and the economy," said Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies.
The CREATE Program includes 25 grade separations, seven of which have been completed. With the latest INFRA grant award, three grade separations are now fully funded through construction, with an additional four underway and 11 seeking funding to begin preliminary design and environmental review.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced INFRA grant awards earlier this month.