Quest for Underpass Funding Continues
Video of June 12 Train Blockage Incident Will Aid Our Cause
Last month President Darch wrote in the newsletter about the June 12 Canadian National train incident that blocked all four intersections in the Village of Barrington during rush hour and significantly delayed our first responders from transporting two accident victims to Good Shepherd Hospital. Fortunately, the two victims in this situation did not suffer life-threatening injuries. However, the incident was serious enough to attract the attention of NBC 5 Chicago, which did an investigative story on it on July 11 (the story can be viewed at https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/First- Responders-Delayed-by-Blocked-Rail-Crossings-487960341.html).
In addition, the Village of Barrington created its own 14-minute video compilation of the incident, which dramatically illustrates the difficulty our first responders faced in trying to find an open route to the hospital once they learned that all four intersections were blocked (they were already en route to Good Shepherd and still just east of the tracks when they learned of the stoppage). You can view the Village video at http://www.viddler.com//v/95dae088.
Both of these videos are being used in our recent application for a multi-million-dollar federal BUILD grant, which is a U.S. Department of Transportation discretionary grant for projects that have a significant local or regional impact. Our underpass project has been designated a project of “regional significance” by IDOT, because approximately 30,000 vehicles from many different suburban communities use Route 14 every day. We could hear about the outcome of the grant award as early as this fall. These federal dollars would allow us to continue Phase II of the Route 14 underpass project, which is already underway with land acquisition of properties in Jewel Park and nearby commercial buildings.
The Village has worked for a decade on the solutions to our train issues in Barrington, and I know that the underpass at Route 14 is a viable solution that will provide some measure of relief for a problem that is only going to get worse as Canadian National continues its tremendous North American growth.
Consider these statistics: Pre-CN purchase of the EJ&E railroad (in 2008), the average train length was 1,062 feet. Today, post-CN purchase, the average length is 7,700, with numerous trains surpassing 10,000 feet. The length of the CN train tracks from the Main Street (Lake- Cook) crossing through the Lake Zurich crossing is 5,918 feet, which illustrates why one average (7,700-foot) CN train can easily block all four intersections that lie within the Village of Barrington boundaries. In addition, pre-CN purchase, trains averaged 3 to 5 per day. Today, they average 18 per day.
Due to this massive increase in train traffic over the past decade, we have now already witnessed one “perfect storm” incident, and no one wants to see another. It is imperative that we continue our aggressive approach to finding the dollars to complete the underpass project as soon as possible, and we will give our best efforts to do so.