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Article updated: 2/27/2012 4:43 PM

Route 38 overpass at UP crossing on track for this year, IDOT says

By Susan Sarkauskas

Work to eliminate a major driving annoyance -- being held up by slow moving freight trains on Route 38 east of Geneva -- is expected to start this summer.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is getting set to build an overpass for Route 38. It will also rejigger the intersection of Route 38 and Kautz Road, moving it on to the overpass. Route 38 will be moved to the south.

The $33 million project will affect 1.63 miles of Route 38, starting at Technology Boulevard on the east and going 2,000 feet west of Kautz.

The project has been in the making since the mid-1990s.

Route 38 will remain two lanes in each direction with a barrier median.

IDOT anticipates letting a contract for construction work this spring, as soon as it finishes buying land next to the proposed roadway. At least one condemnation suit, involving the Starmen Galleries, is still pending in Kane County circuit court.

IDOT plans to finish the work in the fall of 2013.

The state says 75 freight trains and 54 Metra commuter trains pass through the intersection daily. It estimates that 3,800 vehicles are delayed daily, for a total of 18,980 "motorist hours" a year. Trains move through there at speeds of 20 to 70 mph, according to the Federal Railway Administration.

Since December 1955, there have been 19 crashes there, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Federal Railway Administration. One person was killed.

The work zone will extend 1,700 feet north on Kautz.

IDOT has not released any information on how traffic will be handled during the construction, including any road shutdowns or detours. A spokesman said such details might not have been worked out yet, because that is usually done after a contract is awarded.

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