January 2012 – 2011 Year in Review
In This Issue
- New Modeling Data
- Projects Completed & Under Construction
- Partners Receive Public Input
- Looking Forward
- TIGER III submitted… but not funded
- Project Progress
New Modeling Data
In 2011, the CREATE Partners updated and reran the Rail Traffic Control (RTC) simulation model of Chicago’s freight and passenger rail network. We used this model to evaluate the benefits of the projects completed to date, as well as the future benefits anticipated by completing all the freight and passenger rail projects in the CREATE Program. This new simulation takes into account a number of changes since the model was initially run in 2003, including increases in Metra and Amtrak passenger rail volumes and changes in freight rail volumes and routings. We found that:
- The investment in CREATE to date has resulted in a 28 percent reduction in freight rail delay and 33 percent reduction in passenger delay over the base case of having not built any projects yet.
- If all CREATE projects are built, in 20 years, freight delay would be reduced by 50 percent compared to performance with only the 16 funded projects. Passenger delay under the full-build scenario would be reduced by two thirds.
- If no CREATE projects were built, within 15 years Chicago’s rail capacity constraint would be so severe that shippers would have to use alternatives such as shipping via truck or rail through other cities, and passenger rail users would also suffer more significant impacts.
Projects Completed & Under Construction
The partners celebrated the completion of the $19.5 million railroad modernization project that will help reduce railroad crossing delays in a highly congested south suburban corridor and allow freight trains to move through more quickly and efficiently. The ribbon cutting event was attended by Alsip Mayor Patrick Kitching; a representative from the office of U.S. Senator Durbin; Joe Shacter, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division Director, Public and Intermodal Transportation; and Mark Hinsdale, Assistant Vice President, CSX Transportation. To learn more about the project, go to B12 Fact Sheet.
Three grade crossing separation projects are under construction:
- Belmont Road in Downer’s Grove (GS7) – GS7 Fact Sheet
- 130th & Torrence (GS15a) – GS15a Fact Sheet
- 71st & Bridgeview (GS14) – GS14 Fact Sheet
In addition, there are seven rail projects that will continue their construction in 2012.
Partners Receive Public Input
Grand Crossing Rail Project Receives Public Input
Every day, six Amtrak trains on the Illini, Saluki, and City of New Orleans lines pass through Chicago’s south side coming from Champaign, Carbondale, Memphis and New Orleans. The route they currently travel is congested and does not provide direct access to Union Station, causing delays for rail passengers. On December 12th & 13th the CREATE partners hosted public meetings to gain community input on the Grand Crossing Rail Project. For more information, visit www.grandcrossingrail.com.
75th Street Corridor Improvement Project holds 2nd Round Public Meeting
On October 27th, the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project held its second round and well-attended public meeting at Freedom Temple Church of Christ. The meeting’s purpose was to present the Build Alternative, including the three Alignment Alternatives, and the No Build Alternative, or taking no action. The Project Team also sought input from the public on the Range of Alternatives. To see all the alternatives, visit 75th St. CIP Website.
Interns from the Project Communities
Infrastructure Engineering, Inc., a subcontractor to Jacobs Engineering consultants working on the 75th St. CIP Project, hired six high school student interns from the project neighborhoods to work on the project. Four of the students are in college now, studying in technical fields. The two current high school interns are seniors at ACE Technical Charter High School on the south side of Chicago, and both plan to study engineering in college. At a recent public meeting, the interns helped the Project Team explain the 75th St. CIP to the meeting attendees. They greeted and showed the attendees the project presentation, helped them find the exhibits which showed the project impacts in their neighborhood and helped turn in written questions during the formal session. The 75th St. CIP team is grateful for their help, and looks forward to working with the young men in the future.
B2 – While this project completed and placed into service a new flyover bridge in Bellwood this year, the partners are looking forward to seeing more construction next year. Awarded in 2011 to Walsh Construction, the station reconfiguration at the Bellwood and Berkeley Metra Stations has begun. This station work along with track and signal improvements will be completed in the coming year. B2 Fact Sheet
B16 – This project in South Holland will create a track connection that allows for more evenly distributed freight train traffic throughout the regional rail network. The CREATE partners hope to begin work on B16 in the spring. B16 Fact Sheet
The partners anticipate seven more rail projects moving into construction in 2012.
TIGER III submitted… but not funded
In October, the Illinois Department of Transportation submitted a USDOT TIGER III grant application behalf of the CREATE partners. The application requested funding for four freight rail projects and a package of viaduct improvements in the City of Chicago. The request for $26.4 million in federal funds would have leveraged $22.6 million in state, local, and railroad funding to allow completion of a total of $49 million worth of improvements. Although the CREATE Program was not ultimately awarded a TIGER III grant, the partners are grateful for all of the support letters submitted by CREATE proponents, including the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Planning Council, Respiratory Health Association, Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and many more. To see the full application go to CREATE TIGER III Application. The need for additional CREATE funding remains and we will continue to aggressively pursue opportunities as they become available in 2012.
Current CREATE Project Status