Metra gets federal grant to replace rail bridge over Fox River
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Dist. 8) said on Monday that a $14 million TIGER grant from the Department of Transportation (DOT) has been awarded to Metra to replace the rail bridge over the Fox River.
The project consists of constructing a new double-track bridge, which will eliminate the bottleneck between freight rail and the West Line of Metra’s Milwaukee District service, while installing upgraded technology that will allow for Positive Train Control (PTC) compliance.
“Replacing the 134-year-old Fox River Bridge will spur local economic development and create well-paying jobs in the Eighth District, save Illinois commuters thousands of hours in wasted time each year and improve passenger safety,” Duckworth, who has been outspoken about the need for the project and personally reached out to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on the matter, said. “Traffic is only going to increase in the future, and our region’s infrastructure needs to keep up if we want our economy to grow. I’m proud to join Senator Durbin in announcing this significant infusion of federal funds to bring the Fox River Bridge into the 21st century.”
The Fox River Bridge was built in 1881 and remains the only single-track segment of the rail line into Chicago. As rail traffic approaches the bridge, it must slow down or stop to allow the up to 50 other Metra lines and eight freight trains to get in line. The stoppages create significant delays throughout the metro Chicago area. Since arriving in the U.S. House, Duckworth has made Fox River Bridge improvements a priority and has been an advocate for the replacement project.
“The Fox River Bridge...is an integral part of Chicago’s rail infrastructure,” Durbin said. “Metra’s improvement plan will bring an outdated bridge into the 21st century with new technology that will dramatically improve safety and double tracking that will increase speed and reliability for the 6.8 million passengers that rely on the MD-W line every year. I am glad to join Representative Duckworth in support of this important job-creating project.”