Track Work to Close Normal Streets, Work Expected to Begin on Second Platform

Track work on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor will close a major intersection in Normal, Illinois, while construction also is expected to get underway soon on the installation of a second platform at the Amtrak station in that city.

The track work is connected with the ongoing project to upgrade the route used by Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle for higher speed service.

City officials said that several crossings will be closed on a rolling basis to perform work that is expected to result in Amtrak trains being able to travel at speeds of up to 110 mph through Bloomington-Normal.

The first of those crossings to be closed is University at Beaufort streets, which is near the Illinois State University campus.

City Manager Mark Peterson said the crossing will be closed for three weeks and given new safety equipment.

300px-Lincoln_Service_map.svg“Starting in late June, they’ll be going through the community doing intersections [one at a time],” Peterson said. “It’ll be a traffic disruption, no doubt about it, in the late summer probably going into the fall.”

The high-speed service through the twin cities is expected to begin in 2017.

Peterson said the second platform construction work would begin in late May or early June.

The station work will cost $2.5 million. The platform won’t be placed into service until a temporary grade crossing is completed to connect the new platform with the station.

The new platform is being built on the south side of the tracks while the station is on the north side.

Peterson said that the platform-to-station crossing project will cost up to $1 million and is awaiting approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad.

“We’ve done everything we can do,” he said. “It will probably (start construction) late summer or early fall” and be open by spring 2017.

Eventually, city officials expect to replace the temporary crossing with an underpass that is expected to cost $11 million and enable pedestrians to move between the area north of the station to the Uptown South district. That underpass could cost up to $11 million.

City workers are still putting together a request for proposals for a two-year feasibility study that must be completed for the underpass project.

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