Chicago Breaking News reports that Canadian National Railway has won federal approval to purchase a line that would loop freight trains around Chicago, a bypass that may cause massive traffic problems in some suburban communities, including many on the Lincoln Highway. CNR says the deal will boost the Chicago-area economy by $60 million a year, creating hundreds of jobs and easing train gridlock.
The project will shift freight traffic away from the city by looping it in a 198-mile arc through the suburbs by using the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. CNR is set to pay $300 million to U.S. Steel for that railway, $100 million to upgrade the line, and another $60 million to help communities deal with the traffic impact. The transportation board will require CNR to pay most of the cost of constructing two highway-rail grade separation projects, tens of millions of dollars more than originally estimated. One overpass or underpass would be at Ogden Avenue (US 34) in Aurora and the other at Lincoln Highway (US 30) in Lynwood. CNR also reached agreements to minimize the impact in the Lincoln Highway towns of Joliet and Chicago Heights in Illinois, and Dyer and Schererville in Indiana.
The map above, from the LHA’s Driving Maps CD, shows the route looping south of Chicago, from Dyer, Indiana, on the east end through Chicago Heights, Joliet, Plainfield, and Aurora.