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Chicago region needs to act to avoid future freight-traffic congestion, study says


During the next 25 years, freight traffic will double in the Chicago region, requiring action now to avoid congestion and slowed economic development, according to a recently released study.

Commissioned by Chicago Metropolis 2020, "The Metropolis Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods" examines the connection between land use, and rail and truck traffic on the region's economic development.

Study recommendations include:
• designating and protecting suburban freight centers to ensure industrial development investments are targeted to those corridors that support development and minimize freight trips;
• maximizing the ability of rail to carry more freight by preserving land for future rail corridors and intermodal terminals; and
• creating county planning organizations to develop, fund and implement countywide freight plans.

The study also recommends completion of the $1.5 billion, six-year Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program, which is designed to modernize the freight and passenger rail infrastructure serving the Windy City and northeast Illinois. The program calls for creating five rail corridors, including one primarily for passenger trains; grade separating 25 crossings to eliminate commuter delays; building six flyovers to separate freight- and commuter-rail traffic; and removing a downtown rail corridor to foster commercial development.

Each year, railroads and trucks move freight valued at about $1 trillion to and from the Chicago region.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/28/2004