Metra will host a public hearing in an open house format on Thursday, March 2, 2017, to solicit public comment on the Environmental Assessment of its proposed project to replace and expand the bridge over the Fox River along the Milwaukee West Line in Elgin.
The hearing will be held between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at The Centre of Elgin Recreation Facility, Heritage Ballroom, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin 60120. Attendees will have the opportunity to review exhibits, speak with Metra and study team representatives and submit comments. Interested persons can attend anytime during the hearing hours.
“This bridge project is extremely important for improving the reliability, performance and flexibility of the Milwaukee West Line,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “The open house format provides an opportunity for local residents and others to learn about the project, view exhibits and ask questions of Metra staff and the consultant team.”
The bridge, located about 35 miles from downtown Chicago, carries 54 Metra trains and up to eight Canadian Pacific freight trains each weekday. The bridge (also known by its bridge number, Z-100) was originally constructed in 1881, and although the structure has been regularly maintained, many components are significantly deteriorated and can no longer be economically repaired.
Metra plans to replace the single-track bridge with a double-track bridge built to modern design standards. This would remove the delay-causing bottleneck caused by the single track — the only single-track section on the line — improve the line’s reliability and operational flexibility, reduce maintenance costs and help ensure the continued efficient operation of the Chicago region’s rail network.
The Environmental Assessment, required of any federally funded project, identifies mitigations and best management practices to address potential temporary impacts and to alleviate permanent impacts. As a result, no permanent impacts to the physical, human and natural environment in the project area are anticipated.
The assessment can be viewed here, at the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave. in Elgin, or at Metra headquarters, 547 W. Jackson in Chicago.
Written and oral comments will be accepted at the hearing. Comments can also be submitted to ProjectZ100NEPA@metrarr.com or mailed to Metra Grant Management and Accounting, 11th Floor, Attn: Milwaukee West Line Fox River Bridge Improvement Project (Metra Bridge Z-100), 547 W. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60661. All comments are due on or before March 16 in order to be included in the public record.
Metra received a $14 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for the $34 million project. Metra and CP will share the remaining cost, with $6 million from CP and $14 million from Metra.
Construction should start in the third quarter of 2017 and take about three years. There will be minimal impacts on service during construction.
SOURCE: Metra news release and environmental assessment