After decades of decay and small bits of falling concrete, the Union Pacific railroad is finally making repairs to crumbling corners of its embankment which runs east-west through Oak Park between North and South Boulevards.
The wide embankment carries freight traffic, the CTA Green Line and Metra trains.
The gradual deterioration, which has never involved any structural concerns, has been a source of low-grade tension between village government, car owners with cracked windshields and a railroad seen as unresponsive to local worries.
When repair work started early this summer village officials were surprised as there had not been any advance notification.
“We’re doing routine maintenance work in Oak Park as part of our ongoing commitment to maintain the quality of our rail infrastructure,” said Mike Jaixen, senior communications manager of Union Pacific.
Maintenance work extends along three miles of track in Oak Park and began earlier this summer, according to Jaixen, who confirmed that Union Pacific is paying for the work but could not divulge its cost.
“Rail traffic will continue along this stretch throughout this maintenance work,” said Jaixen.
Union Pacific expects the work will be completed by mid-October. In the meantime, construction crews will be “Workin’ on the Railroad” all their livelong days.