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CHICAGO (CBS) – U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski says 1,400 construction jobs are heading for Chicago’s South Side to build a massive railroad bridge at 63rd and State streets.
Lipinski says the $133 million “Englewood flyover” will lift north-south Rock Island and Metra rail traffic over the east-west Norfolk Southern tracks.
The flyover will improve commuter performance and remove barriers to long-haul rail freight traffic to and through Chicago.
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Lipinski says construction should begin in a few weeks.
The bridge will run from 69th Street to 57th Street, near State Street.
The project was announced with much fanfare over a year ago, then promptly side-lined by a federal budget battle which ended when the Obama administration set aside funds for high-speed rail.
Next came disagreement between the Norfolk-Southern Rail Line, and state and federal railroad officials. That log jam ended when Norfolk and Southern agreed to dedicate one track set solely for use by Amtrak, which plans a 110-mile-an-hour service to St. Louis.
The bridge will ease a rail traffic jam at an intersection where 46 freight trains cross tracks used by 78 daily Metra commuter trains.
The feds will pay for 95 percent of the project; the state of Illinois pays 5 percent.