A long-desired proposal to separate trains from car and truck traffic at a railroad crossing in Aurora soon will become a reality.
State and local officials on Friday announced plans to construct an overpass along Ogden Avenue where the road intersects the Canadian National Railway tracks. Work on the $40.9 million project is scheduled to begin this summer and be managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Gov. Pat Quinn said the project will create 370 jobs and improve traffic flow and safety for motorists and pedestrians near Waubonsie Valley High School.
"Soon motorists on Ogden Avenue won't have to wait for passing trains at this heavily traveled crossing," Quinn said in a written statement. "This grade separation project will make it easier and safer to travel in Aurora."
In addition to building a bridge that will carry Ogden over the tracks, the project will include retaining walls, new pavement, noise abatement and traffic signals.
CN is paying $27.4 million of the project's total cost, according to state officials; the rest is being funded through the state's capital program.
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said in a statement that the overpass will enhance the safety of motorists who travel that stretch of Ogden.
"It will likewise save lives through enhanced response times by our police officers, firefighters and paramedics who will no longer be delayed by train traffic," Weisner said.
According to state officials, the average daily traffic volume along Ogden at the rail crossing is 31,200 vehicles daily. Meanwhile, an average of 42 trains per day pass through the crossing.