Work to begin this month on U.S. 30 overpass in Lynwood
BY NICK SWEDBERG Correspondent July 16, 2014 5:06PM
Updated: July 17, 2014 2:10AM
Construction is to begin later this month on a $33 million overpass along U.S. 30 in Lynwood.
Motorists shouldn’t expect significant traffic delays during the yearlong project, officials said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation’s plans call for workers to build a temporary road adjacent to the existing stretch of U.S. 30 near the Canadian National Railway tracks, to be used during construction.
When construction is complete — next June, officials said — the overpass will provide a path for traffic to avoid having to cross the tracks at a spot where 34 trains a day are expected to run.
The railway company, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, is picking up the bulk of the $33 million bill for the project.
IDOT plans to build a temporary four-lane road to handle the normal U.S. 30 traffic, said Thomas Vander Woude, deputy executive director of transportation and infrastructure for the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association.
“Traffic will be squeezed into a smaller roadway, but, during the entire construction period, they will have four lanes of traffic on that stretch of 30,” he said.
A 2008 agreement that cleared the way for CN to buy the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad required the railway to pay 78.5 percent of the cost of the overpass at U.S. 30, north of Sauk Trail.
Lynwood Mayor Eugene Williams believes the project will be a huge benefit for the region.
The chief concern is safety, Williams said. The overpass will allow ambulances to avoid having to wait for trains when they are taking patients to Franciscan St. Margaret Health, located just over the Indiana border in Hammond.
Williams said he hasn’t been informed about the possibility of traffic along U.S. 30 being significantly impacted while construction is underway.
“We wont have any major tie-ups with that,” Williams said.
Lynwood is kicking in funding for landscaping and other improvements to the overpass to help make the area more attractive for new businesses, Williams said.
“We consider it to be a part of our downtown development efforts,” he said.