Advance work is scheduled to begin this week as the Illinois Tollway prepares to begin rebuilding the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Bridge over the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) in western Cook County.
Construction of the new bridge is a multi-year project scheduled to complete by the end of 2022. The Illinois Tollway is reconstructing the BNSF Railway Bridge, which carries the triple-track railroad over I-294 between Hinsdale and Western Springs, to accommodate the reconstruction and widening of the Central Tri-State Tollway.
The existing bridge will be replaced with a longer, wider two-span steel beam structure that will accommodate four tracks and will allow for reconstruction and widening of the Tollway underneath. The new fourth track on the bridge will be used for maintenance purposes by BNSF.
“Reconstruction of the BNSF Railway Bridge will allow for improvements on I-294, one of the busiest sections of the Tollway, and is a critical piece of the Tollway’s $4 billion Central Tri-State Project,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez, in a news release.
Work in 2019 and 2020 includes construction of the bypass bridge that will allow for uninterrupted commuter rail and freight operations during bridge reconstruction. Once the bypass bridge is complete, the existing bridge will be removed and rebuilt in 2021 and 2022. On average, approximately 104 Metra and Amtrak trains cross this bridge daily, as well as 52 daily freight trains.
On I-294, the Tollway will maintain four lanes of traffic in both directions throughout construction using traffic shifts, however off-peak lane closures and intermittent full closures will be scheduled as needed for bridge beam removal and placement work.
The BNSF Railway Bridge Project is being coordinated with the Illinois DOT, Metra, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, and Cook County, along with local municipalities, park districts, as well as police and fire departments. The work is part of the Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program.
SOURCE: Illinois Tollway