(Chicago, IL) – October 10, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and other officials, broke ground today on the Englewood Flyover, a rail crossing project that will eliminate one of the region’s worst rail bottlenecks.
“Projects like this one are exactly why President Obama has made transportation such a big part of the American Jobs Act,” said LaHood. “We have workers on site today, American factories producing news supplies, and when the project is completed, people and goods will move more quickly and easily through the Midwest…”
The $133 million Englewood Flyover project, if which the federal government is tossing in $126.7 million and Illinois $6.6 million, is the second-largest of the 70 projects in the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program to go into construction.
“The Englewood Flyover will make life easier for tens of thousands of commuters every day and put people to work immediately,” Quinn said.
The public-private project involves eliminating the notorious chokepoint where the Norfolk-Southern Railroad and Metra Rock Island District Line tracks intersect near 63rd and State streets in Chicago’s Englewood community. The location serves 14 Amtrak trains, 78 Metra trains and 46 Norfolk-Southern freight trains daily.
The Englewood Flyover consists of building a bridge to carry three Rock Island District Line tracks over the four Norfolk-Southern tracks, relieving more than 7,500 hours in delay that Metra passengers experience annually. The bridge, when complete in spring 2014, will accommodate additional tracks for expanded 110-mph Amtrak service from Chicago to Detroit, Cleveland and the East Coast.
“This project is about jobs,” Senator Durbin said. “I challenge the critics who claim the Recovery Act hasn’t created jobs to make that case after seeing the 1,500 construction workers throughout the Chicago metropolitan region who will be employed as a direct result of this funding.”
The project will create nearly 1,500 jobs, according to Quinn.
“Today’s announcement is good news for those in the Midwest and beyond who depend on freight and passenger rail service,” said Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern CEO.
According to the Railway Supply Institute, Illinois railway suppliers account for over $4.5 billion in sales each year, more than any other state in the nation.