Governor Quinn Announces $79 Million to Reduce Rail and Road Congestion in Galesburg, Create 500 Jobs

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Governor Pat Quinn announced Sept. 17, a  $79 million for projects to reduce rail and roadway congestion in the Galesburg area, improving traffic and increasing train reliability. Together, these projects will create nearly 500 jobs.

“Improving our state’s aging infrastructure is critical to Illinois’ continued economic recovery,” said Governor Quinn. “We are in the largest construction season in Illinois’ history, putting thousands of people to work by improving 2,500 miles of Illinois roads and 330 bridges. Together we are laying the foundation for growth now and for years to come.”

Governor Quinn today announced a major road/rail separation project that will alleviate congestion, reduce train noise and close eight grade crossings in Galesburg. As part of the project, bridges will be constructed at West Main Street and North Seminary Street, and an underpass will be built at East Main Street. The project will cost $34 million and create 440 jobs. The project will also support Galesburg’s Quiet Zone Project, an initiative to decrease the estimated 3,400 times daily that train engineers in the area must utilize a “horn sequence.” Construction will begin next year.

Governor Quinn also announced a $45 million rail congestion mitigation project that will create 52 jobs. The project includes construction and extension of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) mainline track and two new staging tracks to improve reliability as well as the separation of freight trains from Amtrak passenger trains. Construction will begin next year.

“We are extremely proud to announce these major transportation improvements in the Galesburg region,” said Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Gary Hannig. “The mitigation and grade separation projects will create hundreds of jobs and boost the region’s economy. Furthermore, the finished product will alleviate congestion and lessen train horn noise, improving the quality of life for residents.”

Galesburg is a major regional rail hub for Illinois. Seven major rail lines converge at Galesburg and provide direct links to the Pacific Northwest, California, Texas, Southern Illinois and Chicago.

IDOT is currently leading Illinois’ largest road construction program in state history through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. From 2009 through the end of this year we will have invested approximately $8 billion to repair or rebuild 4,800 miles of roads and 566 bridges.  These projects are creating an estimated 155,000 short-term and permanent jobs.