Work on a third track of the Union Pacific West Line, which runs between Elburn and Chicago, started on April 16, with construction scheduled to last for another four weeks, according to a statement released by Union Pacific last month.

During construction, the First Avenue railroad crossing in nearby Maywood will be closed, with Union Pacific pointing out that commuters will be able to cross the tracks in River Forest and Oak Park. 

Last April, officials from various government bodies, agencies and stakeholder entities broke ground on the $100 million project to install the third track and other safety enhancements along the West Line between River Forest and Melrose Park.

Metra and Union Pacific officials said at the time that the new track would eliminate “two critical bottlenecks along the UP West Line that can be the source of delays for both freight and commuter trains.”

Officials said back then that the project “will add nearly eight miles of third track in the only two remaining segments between Elburn and Chicago.”

In the March 23 statement, Union Pacific noted that the “additional main line will allow 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains using the line to operate simultaneously, a critical step toward improving the line’s reliability and efficiency.”

Union Pacific officials said drivers who experience delays during the temporary closure “are asked to follow the posted detour, as well as be aware of, and courteous to, crews working in the area.”

The construction on the third rail coincides with work on the River Forest Park District’s Metra depot headquarters, which started Jan. 24 and is scheduled to finish by June 1, as the district’s summer programming heats up.  

“The original building’s offices were scattered all over different spaces, and so we’ll be consolidating offices in a secure space on the top floor,” Michael Sletten, the park district executive director, told Wednesday Journal at the time.  

“The lower level will be two larger program rooms that will allow us to offer more adult programming and so then we can expand our summer camp program, which is a big thing since that is always packed,” he said. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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