The Englewood Flyover is a bridge construction project near 63rd and State Streets that will eventually elevate the tracks for 78 weekday Metra Rock Island trains, so they don’t cross tracks for 60 daily freight and Amtrak trains at the same grade. Work began last September, and construction this weekend will close the Dan Ryan Expressway express lanes. By eliminating the conflict, not only will “a significant source of train delays” be gone, according to Metra, but neighborhood air quality will also improve and noise from idling trains will be reduced.
The construction work is not expected to create its own delays for the Rock Island line, Metra spokesperson Michael Gillis told Streetsblog. The project is part of CREATE, a multi-agency program to reduce freight rail, passenger rail, and transit delays around the region, comprising over 60 distinct projects. Since 2005, 25 percent of the projects have been completed, with full funding committed to 11 more.
When the Englewood Flyover is complete in fall 2014, two other projects to improve Metra and Amtrak service can begin: the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project – a batch of improvements speeding SouthWest Service Metra trains and opening up room at Union Station for Amtrak and proposed high-speed rail service; and the Grand Crossing Project, which will cut 10-15 minutes from six Amtrak runs by eliminating the need to turn around the trains before they enter Union Station.
The blue line represents Metra Rock Island trains, and the orange line represents freight and Amtrak trains. The red marker indicates the conflict crossing that will be eliminated with a flyover.