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Local

$90M pledged for third railroad track in Geneva

GENEVA – Construction of a third set of railroad tracks on the Union Pacific line that runs through Geneva recently received $90 million in pledged support from the railroad and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Union Pacific and IDOT will each invest $45 million for the improvement planned for the UP/Metra West line from River Forest to Melrose Park and from West Chicago to Geneva, according to a news release.

The state’s portion is part of Gov. Pat Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program.

“This final piece of the West line improvement program will enhance commuter and freight travel on one of our state’s busiest rail lines,” Quinn said in a written statement.

“Building world-class infrastructure is vital to a healthy economy and today’s investment will help get us there.”

With the third track, the news release states, the 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains that use the line daily will be able to operate at the same time, thus increasing reliability and efficiency.

“When completed, operations will be smoother for our customers and Chicagoland commuters, and I know outlying communities will appreciate not having freight trains staged until the morning or afternoon commuter rush hours are over,” Union Pacific President and COO Lance Fritz said in a written statement.

Geneva spokesperson Kevin Stahr said in an email that the city hasn’t had any input on the project, as it is Union Pacific’s.

But, he added, the third tier of the Third Street Commuter Parking Deck is being built because the third track will eliminate some existing surface parking.

The Geneva City Council this month approved a $4.48 million construction agreement with Walsh Construction Company of Chicago to build the third level, which will provide an additional 180 parking spaces.

The addition is being supported with grant money from Metra, Stahr said.

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