Project Update – July 2023
Metra has been working diligently on project updates over the past year. Following the public meeting in April 2022, Metra carefully reviewed all public comments, identified feasible design adjustments to address these comments, secured additional funding for the Project, and completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review.
Engineering and design development are underway with construction anticipated to begin in 2024. As design and engineering progress, Metra will continue coordinating with Union Pacific, community stakeholders, and adjacent residents on further project details.
Proposed Design Adjustments
Based on further analysis and community feedback, the following design adjustments are being implemented along the project corridor:
- Offset the west side retaining wall at least two feet east from the property line where immediately adjacent to residential property between Belmont Avenue and south of Diversey Parkway
- Install solid safety barriers above the west side retaining wall, where immediately adjacent to residential property from Belmont Avenue to south of Diversey Parkway (height and materials will be determined at a later date)
- Repave and restore roadways and sidewalks under every new bridge (previously only included at four bridge locations)
- Install lighting improvements under the Addison Street bridge (similar improvements were already planned at other bridges)
- Include additional landscaping improvements where feasible in areas adjacent to the railroad
Community input will be sought to develop landscape concepts, including options to enhance the tree canopy and options for residents to consider when restoring areas required for temporary easements. This community-focused design effort builds upon past work, including input gathered from the April 2022 public meeting and survey.
Metra will reach out to residents immediately adjacent to the west side of the railroad from Belmont Avenue to south of Diversey Parkway to discuss further Project details and the need for temporary easements. Input from community stakeholders will also be sought to identify further community-friendly design improvements along the corridor. Prior to construction, a public meeting will take place to notify the community of construction-related activities.
The Project website will continue to be updated as the Project progresses. The community is welcome to submit any questions to UPNrebuild@metrarr.com.
Metra and the FTA have prepared a NEPA Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) to assess environmental impacts associated with this Project. The environmental review included comprehensive studies on historic and cultural resources, noise and vibration, natural resources, and other relevant topics.
On June 21, 2023, the FTA determined that proposed Project meets the criteria for a NEPA categorical exclusion in accordance with C.F.R. § 771.118(d)(2). Therefore, the environmental review needed for this Project has been completed.
The NEPA DCE document and its appendices can be found here:
Further details on the NEPA process are provided here.
The Metra UP North Rebuild: Fullerton to Addison Project along Metra’s Union Pacific North (UP-N) Line consists of the following project elements:
- The replacement of 11 railroad bridges from Fullerton Avenue to Cornelia Avenue;
- The replacement of retaining walls where required from Fullerton Avenue to Addison Street;
- Shifting tracks west between Fullerton Avenue and Addison Street to align with the existing tracks north and south of the project area;
- The lowering of Roscoe Street and Cornelia Avenue to maintain current clearance under the roadway and the CTA Brown Line;
- Refurbish, including painting, the existing Lincoln/Addison bridge; and
- Some utility work along the project corridor.
Further project details and updates are provided in the Project’s Frequently Asked Questions section here.
The UP-N Line bridges are 120 years old. Along with the adjacent retaining walls, these bridges have surpassed their functional lifespan and can no longer be economically repaired and maintained. This project will modernize the existing infrastructure, reduce maintenance needs along the UP-N Line, create efficiencies and reduce operating costs, and improve the customer experience with increased reliability and passenger comfort.
The project will result in new bridge structures that enhance the resiliency and reliability of Metra UP North rail service and improve accessibility at railroad underpasses. More specifically, the benefits of the Project include:
- Modernized infrastructure along the corridor through the replacement of outdated structures.
- Improved accessibility from reconstructed underpasses with increased lighting and ADA accessible pedestrian travel paths, where applicable.
- Improved energy efficiency, reduction of oil and diesel fuel dependence, and improved air quality through a reduction in congestion-related emissions due to less service delays and the ability to maintain consistent locomotive speeds.
- Improvements to the customer experience through increased passenger comfort and reliability. Although there will not be an increase in the number of trains or service on the line, infrastructure improvements will reduce potential service interruptions and delays.
The total estimated construction cost of the project is $337 million. Funds totaling $279.1 million are currently allocated for its implementation.
- $6 million from 2019 Federal Transit Authority 5337 State of Good Repair Funds
- $156.1 million from Rebuild Illinois Bond Funds
- $117 million from the Mega Program created by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Metra is currently reviewing additional funding opportunities for this Project.
UP North Line Background
The UP North Line provides rail service to passengers between downtown Chicago, suburban communities in Cook and Lake counties, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Most of its 27 stations throughout 15 communities have been in their existing general location for more than a century. The UP North Line carries 70 passenger trains per weekday. Based on March 2023 conductor passenger counts, approximately 20,600 passengers use the UP North Line on an average mid-weekday (Tuesday through Thursday), which represents more than 14% of Metra's total system passenger ridership (140,300) on an average mid-weekday. This Project will secure another century of connectivity for rail passengers and the local community.
This project is currently in the final design phase. An environmental review process has been completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The Project is anticipated to be constructed in three stages. Construction is expected to begin in 2024, with completion expected in 2028. Further details on the Project’s timeline and construction stages are provided in the Project’s Frequently Asked Questions section here.
Construction in the Community
The Project is anticipated to be constructed in three stages to maintain all rail operations and reduce disruptions to pedestrian, bicycle, and auto traffic. There will be some street and sidewalk closures throughout the project, in which the community will be notified beforehand. Additionally, property owners with backyards, gardens or other property adjacent to the railroad may be impacted by construction. Metra is currently conducting outreach and coordination with these property owners. Further information on construction near adjacent properties is provided here
If you are an adjacent property owner or resident and have any specific questions or concerns about the Project, please contact the Adjacent Property Owner Liaison, Melody Carvajal, at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to read answers to frequently asked questions about this Project.
Beginning in summer 2023, Metra will engage with community stakeholders and adjacent residents to discuss more detailed updates on the Project, the proposed design adjustments, and landscape concepts.
Second Public Meeting – 4/27/2022
Metra hosted a public open house on April 27 to provide project updates to the community, including the modernization process and proposed shifts in track locations, environmental analysis results, timeline, and next steps. Please see below for all materials shared with the community.
- Presentacion con subtitulos en español
- Construction Options Considered Overview
- Project Overview Exhibit Boards
- Construction Overview Exhibit Boards
- NEPA Overview Exhibit Boards
- Community Voices Exhibit Boards
First Public Meeting – 9/9/2021
An initial public meeting was held on September 9, 2021, to introduce the project and to hear from the team details on how we plan to modernize our 120-year-old bridges, project scope, benefits, and timeline.
Watch the recording of the public meeting below:
Video con subtítulos en español:
The community is welcome to provide comments and ask questions via email at UPNrebuild@metrarr.com
For adjacent property concerns, email Melody Carvajal at firstname.lastname@example.org
For media inquiries, please contact Michael Gillis at email@example.com.