Metra to hold virtual meeting on UP North bridge project

Publication Date
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Metra will hold a virtual public meeting on Sept. 9 to introduce the next phase of its project to replace 120-year-old bridges along the Union Pacific North Line on the North Side of Chicago. This phase includes the replacement of 11 bridges and retaining walls as required between Fullerton and Addison.

The Metra UP North Rebuild: Fullerton to Addison Project is currently in the design and planning stage with construction expected to begin in 2023 and completion expected in 2027.

“These bridges have surpassed their functional lifespan and can no longer be economically repaired and maintained,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “The Metra UP North Rebuild Project will modernize the existing infrastructure, reduce maintenance needs and operating costs, and improve the customer experience with increased reliability and resiliency. This is a major project that will benefit My Metra riders for decades.”

To introduce the project to adjacent communities, Metra will be holding a virtual public meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Meeting attendees will hear about Metra plans to modernize the bridges and track structures and learn additional details about the project’s timeline and benefits. To register for the virtual public meeting click here or to learn more about Metra UP North Rebuild: Fullerton to Addison, click here.

The project will reduce Metra’s carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency, reducing oil and diesel fuel dependence and improving air quality, because it will result in fewer service delays and a greater ability to maintain consistent locomotive speeds.

Additional project elements include shifting the tracks west within the existing railroad right-of-way to align with the tracks north and south of the project area; reconstructing underpasses with increased lighting and ADA accessible travel paths; lowering of Roscoe and Cornelia Streets to maintain current clearance under the UP North Line and the CTA Brown Line; refurbishing and painting of the existing Lincoln/Addison bridge; and some utility work along the project corridor.

The project is anticipated to be constructed in two phases to maintain all rail operations and reduce impacts to pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile traffic. There will be some street and sidewalk closures throughout the project and the community will be notified beforehand. Additionally, property owners with backyards, gardens, or other property adjacent to the railroad may be impacted by the construction. Metra will be conducting outreach and coordination with these property owners.

The total estimated cost of the project is $262.3 million and has been included in Metra’s Capital Program for the past three years. Funds totaling $161.2 million are currently allocated, including $6 million from federal sources and $156.1 million from Rebuild Illinois bond funds. Metra continues to pursue additional project funding.

In the first phase of the project, bridges over 11 streets from Grace to Balmoral were replaced. The reconstruction of the Ravenswood Station, which should be complete next year, was also part of that phase which cost $166 million.