Construction works have started on the $474m 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project in Chicago, US, in a bid to eliminate key bottlenecks impacting rail network in the city.
The ground-breaking ceremony of the project was attended by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner, US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials.
A part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program, the project involves improving freight and passenger rail improvement works in the Auburn Gresham, West Chatham and Englewood regions.
Scheduled to be completed in 2025, the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project is estimated to provide $3.8bn in new economic benefits to the city.
It would help to decongest the Belt Junction, which sees 30 commuter and 98 freight train movements every day.
The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project aims to develop a railway flyover and separate these crossings at the junction to facilitate swift train movement.
Rauner said: “Today, we mark the final phase of preparation for this important transportation infrastructure project.
“It is the culmination of years of teamwork and planning by industry and government that will result in more efficient and more productive flows of goods, services and people in our region and in the nation as a whole.”
In June, USDOT announced a $132m grant for the project. In addition, the state of Illinois committed $111m, Cook County agreed to pay $78m, Metra and Amtrak $28m, the City of Chicago $9m and the freight railroad industry is providing $116m towards the project.
Once completed, the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project will remove 18,500 passenger hours of delay a year.