Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Ann Schneider and other state and local officials today to break ground on a $67 million grade separation project in Bensenville that is part of the Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE). Funded through Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, the project to construct a rail flyover over Irving Park Road (IL Rt. 19) just east of York Road will create 870 jobs and boost long-term economic development by speeding up the flow of freight and vehicles on the southwestern edge of O'Hare Airport. Today's event is part of the governor's commitment to create jobs and update Illinois' infrastructure.
"Illinois has a world class transportation system that serves as a hub for the nation," Governor Quinn said. "Anyone who is familiar with the Bensenville area knows that this grade crossing is a huge frustration for motorists. We're eliminating this roadblock to save drivers from thousands of hours stuck in traffic every year, all the while creating jobs and paving the way for more economic growth."
The project is a partnership that includes the Village of Bensenville, DuPage County, the City of Chicago's O'Hare Modernization Program, the Canadian Pacific Railroad and Metra. IDOT also coordinated the Illinois Route 19 project with the Elgin-O'Hare Western Access project.
The work, which is fully funded by Illinois Jobs Now!, includes reconstructing the intersection by lowering Irving Park Road and constructing a bridge for the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks. It also includes the reconstruction of the intersection of Irving Park Road and York Road, which respectively carry 37,000 vehicles and 28,000 vehicles each day. An average of 25 freight trains pass through the crossing each day, delaying 6,400 vehicles and costing motorists 1,500 daily hours of delays that will be eliminated as a result of this project. The rail bridge is expected to be completed by late fall of 2014 and the full intersection project is expected to be complete by late winter of 2015.
"As a result of the farsighted leadership of Governor Quinn, IDOT has been able to make transportation investments like this one across the state," Secretary Schneider said. "IDOT is focused on a multi-modal approach to our transportation system and here in Bensenville we see all three at work: road, rail and air. These kind of investments will improve safety and ensure that we remain a national transportation leader."
IDOT is carrying out the largest construction program in state history through Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. So far, IDOT has awarded 5,336 projects worth $12.44 billion, creating and supporting 160,000 jobs. These have included improvements to 6,753 miles of roadways and 1,080 bridges.
The CREATE program is of national significance, investing billions in critically-needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region's rail infrastructure and the quality of life of Chicago-area residents.