Metra forces will begin work Wednesday, Aug. 26 to replace the railroad crossing at 87th Street and Pulaski Road on its SouthWest Service Line. The work will close both roads at the crossing to all traffic for a 10-day period.
Crossing projects generally include the removal and replacement of rails, ties, ballast, rubber panels and asphalt and are part of the regularly scheduled maintenance of Metra’s assets. However, this project involves additional work, including repositioning of the intersection’s railroad crossing gates closer to the tracks, adding pedestrian gates and replacing the signal bungalow. The total project, including gate, track and signal work is expected to cost about $2.3 million with about $350,000 of the project costs funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The crossing will be closed to traffic on 87th Street and Pulaski Road beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26 and will reopen to traffic on Friday, Sept. 4. Detour signs will be posted advising motorists to use 95th Street to cross the tracks during construction. Motorists on Pulaski Road will be detoured via Southwest Highway and Cicero Avenue to 95th Street while those traveling on 87th Street will follow detours along either Cicero or Kedzie avenues to 95th Street.
Crossing renewals provide a smoother ride for motorists and ensure the continued safety of railroad operations.
In addition to the crossing replacement work, Metra is working simultaneously on a project to upgrade the signal systems on the SouthWest Service from Wrightwood to Chicago Ridge. The 87th Street and Pulaski Road intersection is located just north of this project and will receive the same upgrades to the signal system.
Metra is also in the process of installing a fiber optic network on both the SouthWest Service and Rock Island lines. This $28.5 million project will improve safety along the rails and at crossings by providing a more reliable transmission system for Metra’s signal systems; additional communications bandwidth that will allow Metra to install cameras at 300 rail crossings and the depots along both lines; a reliable transmission system for electronic platform signage and public address systems; and bandwidth for future improvements. Along with these safety enhancements, Metra expects to save more than $690,000 annually by eliminating monthly charges for modems, telephone lines, DSL and cable lines currently used for our communications system.