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Grade Separations


71st Street Grade Separation (75th Street Corridor Improvement Project)

Topline Community Benefits

As part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (75th St. CIP), the 71st Street Grade Separation will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating daily on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX).

Enhance neighborhood stability through street design improvements, noise mitigation tactics, accessibility improvements, new lighting and drainage etc.

Reduce motorist, passenger rail, and freight rail delays.

Project Funding Needs

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Fully funded

Project Location Map

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Project Area

North Limit 69th St
South Limit 100th St.
East Limit Dan Ryan Expressway I-90/94
West Limit Central Park Ave.

Project Overview & Impact

This project will eliminate the most congested rail chokepoint in the Chicago Terminal, Belt Junction, where 30 Metra and 90 freight trains per day cross each other’s paths. The rail-rail flyover at 75th Street will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX). The construction of an additional main line for Metra operation and the rail-rail flyover connection will reduce congestion and freight conflicts and will connect Metra’s SouthWest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks, increasing capacity and improving reliability.

This project will allow SouthWest Service trains access to LaSalle Street Station instead of Union Station, which increases capacity for the SouthWest Service while also freeing capacity at Union Station for increased Amtrak service and proposed high-speed rail. This project also is expected to improve Amtrak Cardinal service performance by eliminating freight conflicts in the vicinity of 80th Street. The road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and improve safety.

p3 work

Alternatives are being developed to address conflicts between CSX, BRC, UP, NS and Metra. The approach will consider reconfiguring the Belt Railway of Chicago (BRC) main tracks between the Dan Ryan Expressway and Belt Junction, where four freight railroads conflict with each other and Metra’s SouthWest Service operations (EW2). The project will consider constructing a second main track for Metra’s SouthWest Service operations from near Wrightwood Station to Western Avenue (P2). The project will consider reconfiguring and building a third BRC main track, and constructing a flyover to connect the Metra SouthWest Service to the Rock Island Line in the vicinity of 74th and Normal and 75th and Parnell (EW2 and P2). This project will consider constructing a bridge that significantly reduces conflicts between CSX and BRC, Metra and NS (P3). The project will also consider constructing a road-rail grade separation of 71st St. and the CSX freight line (GS19). Associated signals, tracks, crossovers, and bridge work are included in the project. See the project website for more information at: https://www.75thcip.org/

Project Benefits

The 71st Street Grade Separation will have project benefits within 1/4 mile of the railroad work, including sidewalk and curb repairs, street repaving, tree planting, and bus stop and pedestrian safety improvements. The project will also repair streets under viaducts which include improved ADA curb ramps, drainage, and lighting. 

Chicago, IL Community Areas: Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Ashburn, Gresham, Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, Roseland, and Washington Heights

Communities along the Metra SouthWest Service Line in Cook County and Will County.

As part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP), this project will contribute heavily to the local economy and create good-paying jobs within the project area.

15 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) are contracted to work on the 71st Street Grade Separation.

A range of environmental benefits come with this project including:

  • Air quality and energy– Improved rail and road traffic operations will decrease train and vehicle idling, reducing pollution and energy consumption and improving air quality in the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Noise mitigation – Noise barriers will be installed in strategic locations.
  • Neighborhood Design – Aesthetic improvements will be developed to mitigate visual impacts of the flyover.

This project’s road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and eliminate the risk of collision rail crossing, where people walking, bicycling and driving along 71st Street must currently wait for trains to pass.

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Project Status

Phase I Completed
Phase II Completed
Phase III Underway

Project Status Definitions:
– Phase I: Environmental & Preliminary Engineering
– Phase II: Final Design (Plans, Specifications & Estimates)
– Phase III: Construction

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