Both sides are talking again in tollway, railroad feud over O'Hare bypass land

After much saber-rattling, the Illinois tollway and Canadian Pacific Railroad might resolve a dispute without federal intervention over land near Bensenville for a western bypass of O'Hare International Airport.

In a joint letter June 14 to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, the railroad and tollway authorities said they have agreed "to continue to engage in direct settlement discussions first" and undergo mediation "if necessary."

The STB on May 31 told both sides to seek mediation after hitting a brick wall over negotiations on I-490, a toll road to be built on the west side of O'Hare between Des Plaines and Franklin Park.

The tollway is seeking to build bridges for I-490 over CP tracks and acquire land in a railroad yard near Bensenville for the project.

CP officials contended the tollway's demands would result in shutting down its yard for days and disrupting freight traffic across the region and country.

The tollway said the railroad was being unreasonable and threatening an infrastructure project that will ease congestion and create thousands of jobs.

The joint letter, however, indicated talks are on again. The two entities asked to be given until mid-August to negotiate before mediation is scheduled.

"If we can work it out before going to mediation, let's work it out," tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov said last week.

Tollway, railway sparring over western bypass

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