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updated: 7/17/2012 7:38 AM

Contract for railroad bridge gets Metra board OK

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Associated Press

The board of Chicago's Metra commuter rail agency has approved a $93 million contract for construction of a railroad bridge on the city's South Side that a congressman threatened to block.

Congressman Bobby Rush threatened to block the project because of a lack of minority participation.

The project calls for construction of a bridge over a rail yard to eliminate backups for 78 Metra trains, 14 Amtrak trains and 46 freight trains each day. The project is located in a largely black neighborhood with high unemployment.

The contract for the project was awarded to the low bidder, IHC Construction and Illinois Constructors Joint Venture. Metra chairman Larry Huggins said the contractor has agreed to increase minority and disadvantaged business participation in the contract from 25 percent to about 40 percent.

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