Deal appears imminent between Canadian Pacific, Illinois Tollway

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An American Airlines plane on final approach to O’Hare International Airport passes over a Canadian Pacific train waiting to enter Bensenville Yard.
Trains: David Lassen
CHICAGO — Canadian Pacific and Illinois officials have apparently reached a tentative agreement in a long-running dispute involving access over CP’s right-of-way and possibly through the railroad’s Bensenville Yard next to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority announced Tuesday that it will hold a special board meeting Wednesday to approve a letter of intent with CP.

No details were available. An Authority spokesman had no further comment on the matter Tuesday. A CP spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The authority, known as the Illinois Tollway, is building a $3.4 billion toll road intended to reach O’Hare from the west. To do so would require easements to construct five highway bridges over CP tracks. Another toll road would skirt O’Hare’s western edge. The Tollway also wants to purchase 35 to 40 acres of the Bensenville Yard for this project.

CP has contended, however, that these are irreplaceable properties and must remain intact because they are crucial to maintaining the fluidity and efficiency of CP itself and the nation’s other railroads. The Bensenville Yard and tracks are operated by CP’s subsidiary, Soo Line Railroad Co.

Both sides have been negotiating for years. After CP lost a decision in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the Tollway took the fight before the Surface Transportation Board. There, the Tollway has asked the STB for a declaratory order clearing the way for it to condemn the property it is seeking.

The STB has deferred making a decision on the matter, however, urging both sides to negotiate. The board has also offered to provide mediation.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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