Mundelein may get pedestrian overpass near train tracks

Mundelein officials are planning to build a pedestrian bridge over a section of Canadian National railroad track to make it easier for people to cross from a residential area to the town's Metra station and other destinations.

The project is in the very early stages, said Adam Boeche, the village's public works and engineering director. However, it's progressed far enough that the village has secured two state grants totaling $3.7 million to help pay for the effort.

A total cost estimate for the project was not immediately available.

Officials want to build the overpass at the Canadian National tracks near McKinley Avenue. The site is south of Hawley Street and east of Seymour Avenue, near the Cardinal Square condominiums and the village's downtown Metra station.

Preliminary architectural drawings depict two tower-like structures on either side of the tracks and an enclosed bridge between them.

Mundelein Public Safety Director Eric Guenther said he was unaware of any train-vs.-pedestrian accidents at the site or public safety complaints. However, the bridge could help people cross over the tracks safely, especially if the area attracts more commercial and residential developments.

"It's more preventive than anything," Guenther said.

The state money that's been allotted for the project will come from two very different sources.

An estimated $2 million will come from a fund dedicated to railroad crossing safety. Additionally, $1.7 million will come from a program that targets road congestion and air quality.

In an unrelated project, the village is set to receive $1 million from the state road congestion fund to help build a bike and walking path along Route 176.

Neither project is expected to be built until 2018.

"We are extremely excited to be receiving these very competitive grant awards," Mayor Steve Lentz said in an announcement on the village's website.

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