Mitigating Freight Train Induced Regional Transportation Congestion
The CN Railway acquired the EJ&E Railway in 2008 to serve as a bypass around Chicago. As a result, the volume and length of freight trains on the rail line were expected to increase significantly. The rail line crosses three important arterial routes at grade within the Village, and traffic studies predicted considerable impacts to vehicular mobility and emergency response times, especially during peak commuter hours. To mitigate impacts, the Village secured a federal TIGER-II Planning Grant to analyze alternatives for a grade separation at the U.S. Route 14 at-grade crossing, where nearly 30,000 vehicles per day cross the tracks.
Phase I Analysis – Developing Creative Alternatives
Civiltech provided Phase I Engineering Services to perform a comprehensive grade separation analysis. The alternatives studied included a U.S. Route 14 overpass or underpass, a railway overpass or underpass, and a partial raising or lowering of the railway or highway. With extensive public outreach and coordination between the Federal Highway Administration, IDOT, and the Village, a highway underpass was selected as the preferred alternative.
Mitigating Environmental Impacts
Constructing the underpass will require the relocation of one-quarter mile of Flint Creek and as a result, the NEPA/404 Merger Process was followed. In order to construct the underpass and relocate the creek, the acquisition of several single family houses and businesses will be required. Section 4(f) coordination was also necessary due to impacts to Citizens Park which resulted in a de minimis finding. Also, highway traffic noise analyses found that a noise barrier will be feasible and reasonable at an adjacent residential neighborhood.
Developing Bridge Concepts
Structural work items included developing alternative bridge concepts, including a multi-span highway bridge carrying the highway over the railway and a ballasted deck girder railroad bridge carrying the railway over a depressed highway. Bridge Condition Reports for existing structures and Type Size & Location plans for new and reconstructed structures were also prepared.
Multi-Faceted and Complex
This multi-faceted and complex project required additional design and environmental analyses included drainage, hydraulic, air quality, geotechnical, railroad, and other environmental resource studies. An Environmental Assessment (EA), and a Combined Design Report (CDR) were as completed.
Phase II Design Engineering Underway
Civiltech is currently providing Phase II Design Engineering Services on the project. Since funding includes federal Surface Transportation Program (STP), all work will be done in accordance with STP and IDOT guidelines. Phase II work includes working within funding requirements, obtaining permits and stakeholder approvals for construction of the improvements, coordinating with public and private utility providers, providing proactive communication with Village residents and project stakeholders, and completing outstanding land acquisition including right of way documents, and coordination of appraisals, and negotiations. Civiltech is also providing extensive multi-agency coordination on behalf of the Village, including IDOT, CMAP, the Northwest Council of Mayors, neighboring communities, and other project stakeholders.
This Project Incorporates the Following:
- Grade Separation Analysis
- Underpass design
- Relocation of a creek
- Coordination of multiple stakeholders and agencies
- IDOT coordination
- Design of noise barriers
- Working within federal funding guidelines
- STP and grant funding coordination
Scope of Services
- Alternatives Analysis
- Location Design Report
- Railroad Bridges
- Bridge Condition Reports
- Type, Size and Location Plans
- Location Drainage Studies
- Hydraulic Studies
- Intersection Design Studies
- Highway Noise Analysis
- NEPA/404 Merger Process
- Interagency Coordination
- Section 4(f) Statement
- Public Involvement
- Context Sensitive Solutions Process
- Community Advisory Group
- Right of Way Acquisition
- Utility Coordination
- Preparation of Contract Plans, Specifications, and Estimates
Federal, State, and Local