'A huge relief for traffic': Barrington gets $48.5M grant to build Route 14 underpass

  • Cars wait for a freight train to pass at the CN tracks and Route 14 in Barrington.

    Cars wait for a freight train to pass at the CN tracks and Route 14 in Barrington. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Artist rendering of the proposed underpass project that would separate Route 14 from the Canadian National Railway tracks in Barrington.

    Artist rendering of the proposed underpass project that would separate Route 14 from the Canadian National Railway tracks in Barrington. Courtesy the village of Barrington

 
 
Updated 10/10/2019 1:57 PM

A game-changing underpass at Route 14 and the CN tracks is within Barrington's grasp after regional officials awarded the village $48.5 million in federal funds Thursday.

Barrington leaders have been chipping away for years at the $73.5 million project separating busy Route 14 from the Canadian National Railway tracks that host multiple freight trains. The project will rebuild Route 14 so it runs under the CN tracks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're just thrilled," Barrington Mayor Karen Darch said. "It will provide a huge relief for traffic" and reduce delays from trains on Route 14 for people trying to reach Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.

"It's just fantastic to see this come to fruition."

Federal grants have already supplied about $11 million, and Darch expects the remaining $14 million to be generated through federal, state, and some local contributions along with funding from CN.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and a related group, the Metropolitan Planning Organization policy committee, approved the grant Thursday. About $10.6 million will be awarded to Barrington in 2020 and $37.9 million will come in 2023.

That works for the village, Darch said, as design work is ongoing for the complex project that is set to begin in 2022, with completion expected in 2024.

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CMAP leaders awarded a total of $475 million from several federal programs across the region to be distributed between 2020 and 2024. The funding includes:

• More than $14 million to build a pedestrian tunnel and reconstruct the Glen Ellyn Metra station.

• Nearly $12 million to improve Deerfield Road between Milwaukee Avenue and Saunders Road in Lake County.

• A total of $9.8 million to expand North Aurora Road in Naperville.

• A total of $5.3 million to fix the Rand, Central and Mount Prospect roads intersection in Mount Prospect.

• Nearly $3.6 million for improvements at Irving Park and Bartlett roads in Streamwood.

• About $3.5 million to build a bike and pedestrian underpass on the Millennium Trail in Lake County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• More than $3.1 million to reconstruct East New York Street in Aurora.

• A total of $2.3 million to expand the Rand Road multi-use side path in Des Plaines.

• About $1.8 million for Prairie Street improvements in Batavia.

Federal regulators approved CN's merger with the smaller EJ & E Railroad, which runs through the North, West and South suburbs, in December 2008 on the grounds it would ease train traffic regionwide.

The decision roiled the suburbs because the change reduced freight train traffic in some towns and increased it in others, such as Barrington.

Barrington officials estimated 18 freights typically longer than 8,000 feet now rumble through town on the former EJ&E tracks compared with three to five shorter trains before the merger. Soon, that number will increase to 29 once a track project is completed, officials said.

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