From building a new bridge to laying rail ties, Metra crews will tackle multiple projects this construction season with varying effects on commuters.
One of the most significant initiatives is replacing the 136-year-old, one-track bridge over the Fox River in Elgin on the Milwaukee West District Line at a cost of $34 million. A replacement structure with two tracks should be completed in 2020.
On the Union Pacific West Line, workers are continuing to add a third track to eliminate two bottlenecks located between River Forest and Melrose Park, and between West Chicago and Geneva. Those projects will last through 2019 and will cost at least $100 million.
Here's a look at other repairs and improvements occurring spring through fall. Most construction will occur after rush hour or on weekends.
• About 92,000 replacement railway ties will be laid this season, which may cause delays in some locations. Locations include on the BSNF between Hinsdale and Aurora and throughout the UP West Line. New ties and signals will be installed on the Milwaukee District North Line between Fox Lake and Libertyville.
• Also on the UP North Line, workers will continue a bridge replacement on the inbound tracks on 11 streets in north Chicago along with rebuilding the Ravenswood Station.
• Station improvements are planned as well, including a new Cary station house and platforms on the UP Northwest Line. On the Milwaukee District North Line, improvements to the North Glenview Station platforms and replacement of the Prairie Crossing station house are scheduled. On the North Central Service, crews will redo platforms at the Vernon Hills and Washington Street/Grayslake stations.
Work is continuing on all rail lines to install positive train control, an automatic braking system, which will mean schedule changes on the BNSF Line.
Metra has budgeted about $84.4 million for its 2018 capital program.