Break Ground for CREATE Plan
June 24, 2011
By Amanda Drapiewski
Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), House Speaker and state Rep. Michael Madigan (D-22nd) and CREATE partners broke ground Monday on the Bridgeview grade separation that will create almost 300 jobs, reduce congestion and enhance safety.
With an agreement having been reached on the Illinois capital bill, Lipinski, Madigan, Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek, who is also a Democratic state senator from the 11th District, and the CREATE partners broke ground on a $27 million underpass to take 71st Street under the IHB/CSX tracks next to Toyota Park, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview.
This project will create 290 jobs, eliminate long delays for drivers, enhance safety and improve air quality, the officials on hand for the groundbreaking said.
Eighty freight trains pass through the daily crossing, typically at speeds below 10 m.p.h., resulting in frequent traffic delays, accidents and air pollution from long lines of idling vehicles.
Currently, 4,400 vehicles use 71st Street daily, and that number is expected to rise to 7,000.
In addition, on average 1,600 vehicles use 71st Street before and after Toyota Park events.
This underpass is part of the CREATE rail modernization program, which is untangling Chicago’s congested transportation systems and creating jobs.
“Not only will this project create hundreds of jobs at a time when jobs are desperately needed, it will permanently eliminate delays and improve safety for the thousands of people that pass through this crossing on a daily basis,” said Lipinski.
“I’m very pleased to have helped secure funding for the 71st Street underpass,” he added. “It’s going to provide tremendous congestion relief for the residents of the 3rd District and Chicago.”
Lipinski is a leading advocate for CREATE, having helped obtain the first $100 million for the program in 2005.
He led the Illinois Congressional delegation in supporting the state’s TIGER grant application, which yielded $20 million for the Bridgeview underpass and an additional $80 million for other CREATE projects.
The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program is a first-of-its-kind partnership, bringing together US?DOT, Illinois DOT, the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads.
“We have been waiting a long time for this underpass and are thrilled that construction is finally beginning,” said Landek. “I want to thank Lipinski and Madigan for their efforts to end this bottleneck, which has hindered residents and businesses in Bridgeview and neighboring communities for years.”
A project of national and regional significance, CREATE will invest billions in critically needed capital improvements to increase the efficiency of the region’s rail infrastructure.
CREATE will reduce train and auto delays throughout the Chicago area by focusing rail traffic on four rail corridors that will be improved to handle passenger and freight traffic more efficiently.
Lipinski said that construction will begin Friday, July 1.
Additional information on the project may be obtained by visiting the following: www.createprogram.org.