CHICAGO – August 23, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn highlighted the state’s ongoing efforts to improve Chicago’s infrastructure and create jobs by announcing the start of construction for a major rail grade separation project on the city’s South Side. The total $146 million project located at 130th Street, Torrence Avenue and the Norfolk Southern Railroad, is a cornerstone of the CREATE program. The construction phase is estimated to create more than 1,200 jobs and will improve safety at a critical railroad crossing.
The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) is intended to improve the efficiency of freight rail moving through Chicago, keeping the city competitive as a commercial center and generating and retaining thousands of jobs.
“This major project will create thousands of jobs by improving the flow of goods and services through one of Chicago’s major manufacturing areas,” Governor Quinn said. “My administration is committed to investing in infrastructure and jobs in every region of our state.”
The project involves lowering 130th Street and Torrence Avenue to fit under two new bridges carrying the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks. The two streets and the tracks currently intersect, resulting in more than 200 hours in delay for the 32,000 vehicles that drive through the crossing daily. Trucks leaving the Ford Motor Company assembly plant nearby can wait as long as 20 minutes because of passing trains.
Other components of the project include lowering Brainard Avenue to connect directly to 130th Street and Torrence Avenue, realigning the South Shore commuter line over Torrence Avenue and the Norfolk Southern tracks and adding pedestrian bridges and paths. Construction will be complete in 2015.
Funding for the project includes $64.8 million from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. The remaining project funds come from the federal government, the city, the Norfolk Southern Railroad, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and the Ford Motor Company.
Since January 2009, Governor Quinn has implemented the largest transportation capital program in Illinois’ history, totaling $13 billion for improvements to highways, transit, rail and airports. Other Chicago transportation projects currently under construction include: the $300 million Wacker Drive reconstruction, the $33 million Congress Parkway bridge rehabilitation and more than $680 million in capital funding for the Chicago Transit Authority.