Part of the ongoing multi-year Springfield Rail Improvements Program, Gov. JB Pritzker and local legislative leaders met in Springfield on Wednesday to announce the start of new underpass construction on the east side of town.
Construction beginning on Wednesday, Madison and Jefferson streets between 9th and 11th streets will be closed for the next 14 months to allow for the $68.3 million construction of two underpasses. These roads will be lowered where railroad bridges with a set of double tracks would carry the existing Norfolk Southern Railroad and new proposed lines for Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak.
Recent:As rail project continues, Madison and Jefferson shut down between Ninth and 11th streets
The goals of the project, Pritzker said, are multi-faceted and would allow for reduced delays along some of the most heavily trafficked areas of the city, thus cutting down on emergency response times in the area near the medical district.
“We are breaking ground on new Madison Street and Jefferson Street underpasses between 9th and 11th streets to not only improve our rail system, but to also provide much needed safety improvements and accommodations that everyone including bicyclists to pedestrians will benefit from,” the governor said at a news conference held at the Horace Mann headquarters.
Michael Mendenhall, Springfield Rail Improvements Project manager, told The State Journal-Register last week the project will be led by United Contractors Midwest of Springfield and shared details of a detour route.
The detour route will be Ninth and Carpenter streets and 11th Street and Carpenter for local traffic, Mendenhall said. Truck traffic will be detoured at Clear Lake Avenue onto Dirksen Parkway, which becomes Veterans Parkway, and back to Jefferson. Signs and dynamic message boards will help guide motorists around detour routes, he added.
There will be slightly different traffic patterns, including multiple turn lanes at Madison northbound onto Ninth and at Jefferson northbound onto 11th. Traffic signal modifications, including timing adjustments and new signal heads, will try to help minimize congestion in the area, Mendenhall added.
A deputy chief from the Springfield Police Department said earlier that traffic personnel will be in the area to enforce the new detours and signage.
The investment is the latest in the $475 million project, set to be complete in late 2025, which has already seen completion of underpasses on Carpenter, Ash, and Laurel streets in recent years. Also completed recently were the new bridges and underpasses along Fifth and Sixth streets – a three-year, $44.3 million project that completed Segment IV of the program.
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A large portion of the funding for the rail project comes through the state’s Rebuild Illinois initiative, also providing funds to the Illinois State Capitol renovations. For the latest installment, $7.4 million will come through the initiative with the remainder coming from federal and other state sources of funding.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman called the city’s rail project a “cornerstone” of Rebuild Illinois, signed into law by the governor in 2019 with bipartisan support.
“We are creating an asset for the community and strengthening the multimodal system of transportation we enjoy here in Illinois,” he said.
Osman, asked later about the longevity of the infrastructure improvements, said the lifespan of the new bridges would exceed 50 years with the proper maintenance. Rebuild Illinois includes $33 billion in transportation investments to allow for both construction and its upkeep, Pritzker added.
The event was one of two scheduled on Wednesday for the governor in Sangamon County, where he also met with first responders in Sherman to thank them for their work in response to last week’s tornado.
The State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie contributed to this report.
Contact Patrick Keck: 312-549-9340, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/pkeckreporter.
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April 6, 2023 at 09:13AM