GALESBURG – October 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider, local leaders and rail officials to announce the completion of a new $16.1 million Illinois Jobs Now! transportation infrastructure project that will dramatically improve traffic conditions in the area. The new grade separation in Galesburg eliminates the at-grade crossing along Main Street, and creates a new overpass spanning from east of Academy Street to west of Garfield Avenue and over the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) tracks. This collaborative endeavor between the Federal Highway Administration, State of Illinois, City of Galesburg and BNSF created or supported nearly 140 jobs, and is set to reduce traffic congestion and emissions and improve roadway and rail safety in the region. The project is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to modernize Illinois' transportation infrastructure.
"If we want to compete in the global economy, Illinois must have a world-class transportation system," Governor Quinn said. "This grade separation improvement will cut down travel times, alleviate traffic and rail congestion and improve safety in Galesburg for decades to come. Not only did this project boost the regional economy and put hundreds of people back to work, it provides a solid foundation to address traffic demands well into the 21st century."
This grade project separated the current at-grade crossing at the double set of BNSF tracks located on West Main Street by constructing a new roadway overpass for vehicles. The new West Main Street segment also consists of five lane approaches, retaining walls on overpass, new traffic signaling, street lighting and a four-lane bridge deck with additional pedestrian improvements including a safety fence, sidewalks, curb cuts, aesthetics and landscaping. In addition to reducing congestion and auto emissions from idling, the new overpass will also improve capacity and traffic flow, and prevent emergency vehicles from being delayed. Construction on the project started in July 2011.
“Today we proudly stand here to announce the successful, timely and efficient completion of the Main Street Grade Separation project, and we also want to highlight how this joint public-private partnership helped grow the local economy and greatly improve the quality of life for both travelers and residents,” Secretary Schneider said. “Thanks to Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program, this major grade separation project will undoubtedly decrease current travel times of motorists and rail commuters, improve reliability and boost logistical benefits to local businesses.”
Main Street is the second busiest street in Galesburg, with nearly 100 trains utilizing the crossing at speeds of 30 miles per hour each day. Approximately 9,400 vehicles drive on West Main Street each day. Prior to the project, the average time for a vehicle to wait at a train crossing was 4-5 minutes.
“These grade separations will shave commute times and improve safety by completely separating road and rail traffic at busy railroad crossings,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Transportation investment is one of the best ways to spur business development, which is why, in 2010, I secured $2.92 million in federal funding to support this project. Beginning with West Main Street today, these grade separations will allow businesses to more easily move products in and out of the area, making Galesburg a more attractive place to live and work.”
“This is the day when a dream of many decades becomes reality,” State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Galesburg) said. “Because of the efforts of local, state and federal officials working with citizens of the community, we have built a bridge to the future - a future that improves public safety and increases economic opportunity.”
This project received an investment of $14.5 million from Governor Quinn’s six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. Those funds supported $809,000 from the Federal Highway Administration and $806,150 from BNSF.
Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in state history. Of the $14 billion in the program dedicated for transportation needs, $11.3 billion has been spent on projects that have improved more than 6,600 miles of roads and more than 1,000 bridges, creating approximately 140,000 jobs from highway projects alone.