Create estimates that when the project is completed in 2025, it will eliminate 32,000 annual passenger hours of delay in the Chicago region.
The project comprises a new flyover at Forest Hill; road-rail grade separation at 71st Street; the replacement of Belt Junction and 80th Street Junction; the Rock Island Connection and the Argo Connection. The latter is the first to be implemented and will provide additional track and signals, enabling increased line speeds for passenger and freight trains.
In June, United States Department of Transportation allocated a $US 132m grant through its Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (Infra), the largest single grant awarded under the programme. The freight railways are providing $US 116m, with $US 111m coming from Illinois Department of Transportation, $US 78m from Cook County, $US 23m from commuter rail operator Metra, $US 9m from Chicago Department of Transportation, and $US 9m from Amtrak.
“The Create programme is grounded in a simple idea - solutions to big challenges only happen when everyone is at the table,” says Mr Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads. “We are all committed to improving service for both Chicago rail commuters and freight customers nationwide, and this project dramatically moves the ball forward by untangling one of the most congested points in the US rail network.”