June 20th, 2011

CREATE Partners Broke Ground on Grade Separation

CHICAGO (June 20, 2011) - Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3), House Speaker Michael Madigan, Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek, and the CREATE partners broke ground on a $27 million underpass to take 71st Street under the IHB/CSX railroad tracks adjacent to Toyota Park. This project will support jobs, eliminate long delays for drivers, enhance safety, and improve air quality.

"Not only will this project create hundreds of jobs at a time when jobs are desperately needed, it will permanently eliminate delays and improve safety for the thousands of people that pass through this crossing on a daily basis," Congressman Lipinski said. "I'm very pleased to have helped secure funding for the 71st Street underpass. It's going to provide tremendous congestion relief for the residents of the Third District and visitors to Toyota Park."

"We have been waiting a long time for this underpass and are thrilled that construction is finally beginning," Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek said. "I want to thank Congressman Lipinski and Speaker Madigan for their efforts to end this bottleneck, which has hindered residents and businesses in Bridgeview and neighboring communities for years."

Eighty freight trains pass through the crossing daily, typically at speeds below 10 mph, resulting in frequent delays of up to 10 minutes for motorists, crashes involving vehicles and trains, and air pollution from long lines of idling vehicles. Currently, 4,400 vehicles use 71st Street daily. In addition, on average 1,600 vehicles use 71st Street before and after Toyota Park events.

The 71st Street underpass is part of the CREATE rail modernization program, which is untangling Chicagoland's congested transportation system and creating jobs. Congressman Lipinski is a leading advocate for CREATE, having obtained the first $100 million in federal funding for the project in 2005. He led the Illinois Congressional delegation in supporting the State of Illinois' TIGER grant application, which yielded $20 million in federal funding for the Bridgeview underpass and an additional $80 million for other CREATE projects throughout the Chicago region.

Mark Hinsdale, CSX, commented, "This demonstrates why the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and the Class I railroads partnered on the CREATE Program. It's a win-win for the public and our national transportation system."

A CSX Gen Set low-emissions locomotive was featured at the press conference.

For more information:

Rep. Lipinski, Nathaniel Zimmer, (708) 305-6289 or nathaniel.zimmer@mail.house.gov

Illinois DOT, Guy Tridgell, (312) 814-4693 or jae.miller@illinois.gov

Village of Bridgeview, Debra Augle, (708) 496-6721 or debra@villageofbridgeview.com

CSX, Tom Livingston, (708) 832-2169 or tom_livingston@csx.com