Chicago-based commuter railway Metra has received a $17.8m grant from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) for a rail bridge project.

The funding will be used to construct a grade-separated double-tracked rail bridge over Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.

The funding is part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program.

The programme provides funding to capital projects, including repair, replace or rehabilitation of publicly owned railroad assets.

US Illinois Senator Richard Joseph Durbin said: “For many Illinoisans, Metra is the only affordable and accessible transportation option they have.

“The funding announced today will improve service for customers who depend on these trains running efficiently and safely. Senator Duckworth and I will continue to work with our colleagues in Congress to ensure we support Metra operations in Illinois.”

Metra CEO and executive director Jim Derwinski said: “We are extremely grateful that our elected officials have shown us once again that they understand the value of Metra by helping us obtain the funding needed to improve our system.

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“This project is crucial for increasing reliability and performance for our customers along the Milwaukee District North Line.”

In July, Metra partnered with Chicago State University (CSU) to renovate and transform 95th Street Station on the Metra electric line by building a station with the name ’95th Street/Chicago State University’.

In March, Metra issued a request for proposals (RFP) to procure at least 200 railcars.

The proposal came one month after it cleared a contract worth $70.9m to procure 15 locomotives to replace its older fleet.