CREATE partners receive $19M for interlocking project

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A July 2018 tour of Chicago’s rail infrastructure included a stop at Bridgeview’s 71st Street grade separation work near Chicago’s Toyota Park venue, where work eliminated a grade crossing near the stadium. | Photo: Kyra Senese/RT&S

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded a total of $19,206,398 to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program’s Dolton Junction Interlocking project in Dolton and Riverdale, Ill.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced the allocated funding in a June 11 statement.

The project is intended to ease rail congestion in the south suburbs and far south side of Chicago. This funding was awarded through the USDOT’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program.

“This important investment will not only improve rail speed and service reliability, it will help keep passengers, drivers and pedestrians safe,” Durbin said. “It also creates good paying jobs for the people of Dolton and the Southside of Chicago. Senator Duckworth and I are proud to support this improvement project, and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois’ transportation infrastructure.”

Duckworth noted that more than 100 freight trains and several passenger trains use the Dolton Interlocking System each day, creating significant congestion and causing delays for Illinoisans and rail users.

“This critical funding will modernize the interlocking and relieve this bottleneck to improve reliability and boost our economic development,” Duckworth said. “I am committed to working with Senator Durbin and other members of the Illinois congressional delegation to promote infrastructure improvements across Chicagoland and the state of Illinois and bring back as much investment as possible.”

Last year, Durbin, Duckworth and U.S. Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL-01), Dan Lipinski (D-IL-03) and Danny Davis (D-IL-07) also announced $132 million in federal funding to the CREATE Program for the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (75th St. CIP). Officials said last year’s investment will help separate several major freight and passenger rail lines that currently intersect and cause significant delays, train idling and congestion in Chicago’s Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham neighborhoods.

The CREATE Program is a partnership that includes the USDOT, the state of Illinois, Cook County, the city of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak and the nation’s freight railroads.

This article originally appeared in RT&S.

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