October 2009 – Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Secretary LaHood Tours CREATE Projects
  • State of Illinois Funds CREATE in Capital Bill
  • CREATE Completes Two Additional Projects
  • CREATE Applies for Stimulus Funding
  • City of Chicago Welcomes CREATE Program Director
  • CREATE Breaks Ground in Blue Island

Secretary LaHood Tours CREATE

fall2009 handshake

Congressman Dan Lipinski hosted U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood on a rail tour of CREATE projects in August. Riding a Metra train, Secretary LaHood toured CREATE projects on the Beltway Corridor and viewed several proposed highway-rail grade separation projects. In the photo are: Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski, and Illinois DOT Secretary Gary Hannig.

Illinois Funds CREATE in Capital Bill

Governor Patrick Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly approved $300 million for CREATE in its recent Capital Bill. Additionally, two CREATE projects (130th and Torrence and the Roosevelt Road grade separations) received individual funding in the bill. Thank you to our legislative champions, Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Sen. Martin Sandoval, for their unwavering support for CREATE. And thank you to all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who helped support CREATE in this package.

CREATE Completes Two Projects

The Melrose Connection (CREATE Project B3) is the largest CREATE project completed to date and was finished in September. This is the first CREATE project that includes all of the major construction components for a new railway segment: grading, new track, new signals, and a new bridge. The new infrastructure adds a second connection between the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad (IHB) and Union Pacific’s Proviso Yard. Prior to the completion of this project, trains departing Proviso Yard would block the IHB main lines, preventing other trains from moving through the area. The new connection allows trains to maintain active operation on the IHB at the same time trains are entering and departing Proviso Yard, which greatly increases capacity. See Melrose Connection for photos.

CREATE Project B8, which upgraded the 40 year-old signal system along the Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) Corridor from Bedford Park to Summit, Illinois, was completed in the spring. Each weekday, six Metra Heritage Corridor trains serving a total of nearly 3,000 passengers daily and 10 Amtrak trains serving a total of 1,500 passengers daily operate on tracks crossing the IHB. Prior to the $4.5 million project, passenger trains often experienced delays due to slow moving freight trains that could not clear the intersection of two rail lines, resulting from the antiquated signal system. The B8 project’s upgraded signalization has significantly reduced cross traffic interference and reduced passenger delays. Visit B8 Photo for an image of the completed project.

City of Chicago Welcomes Jeffrey Sriver as CREATE Program Director

On October 1st Jeffrey Sriver joined the Chicago Department of Transportation as CREATE Program Director. Jeff brings 17 years of experience in transportation planning, policy, operations analysis, and project management for the planning and development of major capital investments. He was most recently a Senior Transportation Consultant in the Chicago office of Arup, a global engineering and planning consultancy. From 2000 through 2007 Jeff worked for the Chicago Transit Authority, most recently as General Manager of Strategic Planning in which capacity was responsible for long range service planning and analysis, rail system expansion planning, fleet planning, ridership forecasting, fare policy analysis, and market research. His earlier responsibilities at CTA included General Manager of Construction and Manager of Resource Planning. Prior to joining CTA, Jeff managed projects related to public transit development in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and South America for a Japan-based international development consulting firm. Jeff has a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and a Masters in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jeff can be reached at jeffrey.sriver@cityofchicago.org.

CREATE Breaks Ground in Blue Island

fall2009 7peoplepic

On October 5, CREATE held a groundbreaking for Project B12 to add a third main line of track, update signals, and conduct bridge work in Blue Island and Alsip. This $26 million project will employ 80 rail employees and 100 contractors. Participants in the groundbreaking shown in the photo above include: Jeff White, CSX; Joseph P. Clary, IDOT; Stanley Watkins, Office of Congressman Bobby Rush; Bill Thompson, Association of American Railroads; State Representative Monique Davis, 27th District; Mayor Patrick Kitching, Alsip; and Mayor Don Peloquin, Blue Island.

CREATE Project Among 10 Best of 2008

Midwest Construction named the CREATE rail-highway grade separation project at Grand Avenue in Franklin Park, Illinois one of the ten best projects in 2008. See Engineering News-Record – Best of 2008.

National and Local Organizations Support CREATE

CREATE has broad support including communities receiving passenger rail benefits, national businesses and civic and municipal organizations. Visit (CREATE Benefits) to view these letters.

Did You Know?

A single intermodal train carries the load of 280 trucks. For more information see: Freight Rail Works.

CREATE Partners

  • Amtrak
  • BNSF
  • Belt Railway Company of Chicago
  • Canadian Pacific
  • CN
  • Chicago Department of Transportation
  • CSX
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Indiana Harbor Belt
  • Metra
  • Norfolk Southern
  • Union Pacific
  • USDOT