Englewood Flyover, Now Under Construction, Will Reduce Metra Delays

Metra Rock Island Train crossing the Dan Ryan Expressway via the Englewod Flyover
A Rock Island train crosses the Dan Ryan Expressway, near where the incline over freight tracks will begin. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.

Englewood Flyover construction this evening
Construction photo from Saturday; click for more. Photo: Anne Alt.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Englewood Flyover Now Smoothing Out South Side Metra Rides

|
The Englewood Flyover train bridge unofficially opened three weeks ago, carrying test trains along the Metra Rock Island District tracts. The mile-long flyover, near 63rd Street and Wentworth Avenue, is one of the largest projects within CREATE, a larger program to untangle railroad flows around Chicago. The $141 million project could eliminate 7,500 hours of Metra delays each year that […]

Can Transportation Options Energize Englewood?

|
[This article also appears in Checkerboard City, John Greenfield’s weekly column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings.] Most Chicagoans associate Englewood with poverty and crime, but local advocates and activists see it as a neighborhood with untapped potential, with excellent access to public transportation being one of the keys to its […]

CTA: Belmont Bypass Necessary to Accommodate Current and Future Riders

|
The Chicago Transit Authority published on Tuesday its federally mandated environmental assessment for the Red-Purple Bypass project, better known as the Belmont flyover. The bypass is part of the Red-Purple Modernization project, which will rebuild all of the tracks from Belmont to Linden station in Wilmette, and reconstruct several stations to add elevators and other amenities. This bypass would […]

High Speed Rail Association: Use Metra Tracks for O’Hare Express

|
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aviation commissioner Ginger Evans stated earlier this year that creating an express train to O’Hare Airport is a priority for this administration. However, the Blue Line is already a fairly speedy way to get to the airport, which could easily be upgraded via a few short-term improvements. Therefore, the city might be […]