In a Chicago Tribune column, Mary Wisniewski highlights how the Chicago Region Environmental & Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) aims to untie knots throughout the nation’s busiest rail hub.
“At Forest Hill Junction, two sets of tracks carrying CSX trains cross four sets of tracks carrying Metra SouthWest Service and freight railroads. It’s like an intersection for interstates.” Wisniewski notes.
“To untangle the knot, railroad and government officials plan to build a flyover bridge so CSX tracks can go up and over the other set of tracks. The bridge also will carry trains over 71st Street, eliminating an at-grade crossing and cutting delays for motor vehicle traffic.”
“The flyover is part of a publicly and privately funded plan to ease street and rail congestion on the South Side, to be built over the next 4.5 years, with construction starting this spring. The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, with an estimated cost of $474 million, will include the flyover and track and signal improvements to allow for increased train speeds. A smaller, complementary project, estimated at $65 million and funded with federal, state and city money, will allow trains to go above motor vehicle traffic at Columbus and Maplewood avenues in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood, eliminating delays for 11,500 vehicles daily.”