Metra details $85 million in improvements for 2018

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CHICAGO — Thirty stations will be improved, 92,000 railroad ties will be replaced and 15 bridges will be rehabbed as part of Metra’s 2018 construction program, the commuter rail agency has announced.

All total, nearly $85 million has been allocated for the program covering Metra’s 11 lines serving northeast Illinois, with work beginning this month and continuing through the fall, the agency announced.

“We plan to take full advantage of the construction season by making improvements where we can with our limited funding,” Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Derwinski says in a statement. “Our goal is to be as efficient as possible with the resources available to maintain our rail system and to move forward with the upgrades necessary for the implementation of the positive train control safety system.”

Of the $84.8 million, the work includes $5.5 million for station improvements; $20.9 million for track maintenance and improvements; $12 million for bridge projects; $4.5 million for rail crossing replacements and $39.7 million for signal system upgrades, including $30 million for PTC, according to a Metra news release.
Some of the work will be performed by Metra in-house crews, its railroad partners, and the rest by contractors for the agency and local municipalities.

The program includes:
  • Work on the $7.3 million renovation of the Healy Station on the Milwaukee District North Line.
  • The $2.95 million renovation of the concourse at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station.
  • A $2.4 million project at the Cary Station on the UP Northwest Line for a new station house, ticket office and platforms.
  • BNSF Railway will replace about 12,000 ties on one of its main tracks between Hinsdale and Aurora, Ill. In addition, BNSF will be resurfacing mainline track from Downers Grove to Aurora.
  • Metra will replace 17,000 ties from Fox Lake to Libertyville, Ill., on the Milwaukee District North Line. The work will also include the replacement of five switches and the continued upgrade of the signal system on this section of track in preparation for PTC.
  • On the UP West Line, work will continue on two multi-year projects to add eight miles of third track to remove bottlenecks that are a significant source of freight and passenger train delays. The two projects combined will cost more than $100 million. The first project includes construction of 1.8 miles of new track from the Vale interlocking in River Forest (just east of the Des Plaines River) to 25th Avenue in Melrose Park. The second project includes construction of 6.1 miles of new track from Kress Road in West Chicago to Peck Road in Geneva. Construction began in 2017 and is expected to continue through 2019. Funding is being provided by Union Pacific and Metra.
  • UP also plans to replace 43,000 ties on the UP West Line as part of its general maintenance program.
  • Construction began in the fall of 2017 along the Milwaukee District West Line on a $34 million multiyear project to replace a 130-year-old single-track bridge over the Fox River in Elgin with a double-track bridge.
  • Along the Metra Electric Line, Metra will rehabilitate its bridges at 63rd and 64th streets. The $1.2-million-project includes the removal and replacement of deteriorated concrete from the bridge abutments and the underside of the bridge decks.
  • On the UP North Line, Metra will continue a multiyear project to replace 11 bridges for the inbound tracks over Grace, Irving Park, Berteau, Montrose, Sunnyside, Wilson, Leland, Lawrence, Winnemac, Foster and Balmoral. As part of this $45 million project, the new inbound half of the Ravenswood Station will be built. A $15.5 million project will replace rail bridges that cross over Webster Avenue and the North Branch of the Chicago River.
  • Metra and its railroad partners plan to make improvements to 21 road crossings systemwide in 2018.
  • The 2018 capital program includes $30 million for PTC-related signal and communications projects and another $2 million for signal system upgrades.
  • On the Metra Electric Line, Metra will complete a $9.3 million project to upgrade the signal system at the 11th Place interlocking, which dates to the 1920s.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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