Englewood flyover work to begin this year

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CHICAGO - Officials Friday gathered at Chicago's busy junction at Englewood to announce that work will begin later this year on a 2,000-foot flyover. The bridge will carry Metra's Rock Island District commuter route over the Norfolk Southern main line that is shared with Amtrak trains from Michigan and the East Coast.

U.S. Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin; U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois; and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stood in front of the diamond as Amtrak train No. 365 from Port Huron, Mich., formed a moving backdrop for the announcement.

The $133 million project will begin late this year and will be completed by 2012, Lipinski said. He added that the project is the linchpin of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program. CREATE is a project to alleviate congestion in Chicago by building new bridges, connections, and better signals at critical junctions.

Amtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper said at the announcement the project will eliminate the single biggest source of train delays for Amtrak in the Midwest. He said that the railroad's number one driver of customer satisfaction is on-time performance.

The junction sees 78 Metra, 46 freight, and 14 Amtrak trains each week day. The project is expected to employ about 1,500 people and will eliminate about 7,500 hours of delay on the Metra Rock Island district.

TranSystems, the company that built Kansas City's Argentine and Sheffield flyovers, has been selected to build the flyover.

The project has been planned since 2002. - Matt Van Hattem and Jim Wrinn
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