A Thursday afternoon ceremony marked the opening of the 25th Avenue overpass in Bellwood. | Photos: State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch/Facebook || Bottom left, Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. || Illinois Department of Transportation/Facebook
Thursday, December 22, 2016 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews
Driving has just gotten a lot easier for area commuters who utilize 25th Ave. Numerous officials from various government bodies were on hand Thursday morning for the opening of the new overpass at 25th Ave. over Union Pacific’s rail line in Bellwood.
“This new overpass pays immediate dividends for communities nearby, but its impact will be felt for years throughout the region,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “This project is what CREATE is all about: All parties coming together to find a solution that benefits everyone.”
The $41 million grade separation project, part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program, had been under construction since September 2014, according to an article in Railway Track & Structures Magazine.
The project, the magazine reports, “eliminates a conflict point between 52 freight trains, 59 Metra trains and 19,000 vehicles per day. Not only does the grade separation reduce congestion and improve safety, but it also saves 28,400 hours per year of motorist delay and ensures better response times for emergency vehicles.”
Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said the new overpass “pays immediate dividends for communities nearby, but its impact will be felt for years throughout the region. This project is what CREATE is all about: All parties coming together to find a solution that benefits everyone.”
Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale said the project will be a “conduit for economic development, quicker emergency vehicle times and a safer traffic flow.”
“This is much more than a railroad overpass,” he said. “This is a bridge to a better quality of life for our communities.”
According to Railway Track & Structures, the overpass was funded by “ a $22.2 million contribution from Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), $2.4 million from the villages of Bellwood and Melrose Park and $16.4 million from federal, railroad and other state sources.” VFP
To read the full Railway Track & Structures article, click here.