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Metra Board awards contract for Fox River bridge

(September 13, 2017) - 

Metra’s Board of Directors today approved a $21.6 million contract to replace a 136-year-old bridge over the Fox River along the Milwaukee District West Line in Elgin.

Illinois Constructors Corporation of Elburn was the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. The project will replace the existing single-track bridge with a double-track bridge built to modern standards. The contract authorized today will cover the bridge structure, with Metra forces building and installing the project’s track and signal elements.

“This bridge project is extremely important for improving the reliability, performance and operational flexibility of the Milwaukee District West Line,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Don Orseno. “We’re happy to move this project forward and thankful for the support we’ve received from our delegation in Washington to secure the funding we needed.”

Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and then-U.S. Representative, now U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Metra received a $14 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for the $34 million project. Metra and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) will share the remaining cost, with $6 million from CP and $14 million from Metra.

“Investing in our state’s infrastructure is one of the most important things we can do to move Illinois forward, and I’m proud use my posts on the Senate committees with jurisdiction over infrastructure to support jobs and grow our state’s economy,” said Senator Duckworth. “This project, which will use a significant infusion of federal TIGER funds to help bring the 136-year-old Fox River Bridge into the 21st century, will improve passenger safety, save Illinoisans thousands of hours in wasted travel time each year and boost Chicagoland’s economy. I will continue working to protect programs like TIGER from proposed cuts and to secure additional federal funding for improvements that spur local economic development and create good-paying jobs in Illinois.” 

Construction is planned to begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 and take about three years. Metra riders will experience minimal impacts on service during the project.

The bridge, located about 35 miles from downtown Chicago, carries 54 Metra trains and up to eight Canadian Pacific freight trains each weekday. The bridge (also known by its bridge number, Z-100) was originally constructed in 1881, and although the structure has been regularly maintained, many components are significantly deteriorated and can no longer be economically repaired. 

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