Railroad flyover discussed
Plan would have impact on Summit
By Steve Metsch
Reducing the risk of potential accidents, along with ending delays in commuter railroad service, are goals of a proposed “flyover” that could be built from Harlem Avenue alongside the canal to Willow Springs.
It’s all part of sweeping rail improvements proposed by the Illinois Department of Transportation which, as of now, has no price estimate or funding source.
It’s in the talking stage, so IDOT held a public hearing in the gymnasium at Summit Park on Sept. 19 for residents, business owners and public officials to weigh in with thoughts and questions.
A multimedia presentation detailed the plan for visitors.
Amtrak has 10 trains daily through the corridor, Metra’s Heritage Corridor line from Chicago to Joliet has seven, and there are 87 freight trains using the Belt Railway line, according to IDOT.
And it may come as a surprise that the two lines actually cross each other at grade level. That’s northwest of the viaduct at Archer Road near 63rd Street, and southwest of Summit Park.
The potential exists for a major accident there, officials said. But that would be averted by building a long bridge – or flyover – for the commuter trains to safely pass above the freight line.
Justice Trustee Melanie Kuban liked what she saw.
“You are talking a safety issue. It will be much nicer. You won’t have the problems of freight and passenger trains going at the same time,” Kuban said.
The modest Summit Metra Amtrak train station, located west of Harlem Avenue, would be relocated with a single interior platform located between the proposed flyover track and realigned existing tracks.
A tunnel beneath the tracks would allow passengers to safely cross under tracks to the parking lot.
Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez noted that only seven commuter trains stop daily in Summit. He likes the tunnel idea and is hoping there’s a way to build a bike/walking path from Summit Park to the station.
The existing Illinois Central bridge over Lawndale Avenue would be rebuilt and a second line added there. The vertical clearance would change from 13 feet, 8 inches to 12 feet, 9 inches.
That worries Rodriguez because he doesn’t want a lower clearance to hinder larger boats from accessing a defunct boat launch on the nearby canal.
— Desplaines Valley News
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