The Village of Barrington was successful in obtaining federal TIGER II funds and Illinois Department of Transportation funds to study the possibility of constructing a grade separation at the U.S. Route 14 crossing of the CN/EJ&E railroad track. The Village, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation, subsequently conducted a Preliminary Engineering Study for a potential grade separation of U.S. Route 14 (Northwest Highway) at the CN/EJ&E Railway at-grade crossing. On August 29, 2014, the Village received Design Approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation and other governing bodies for lowering U.S. Route 14 under the existing CN/EJ&E railroad track and realigning Lake Zurich Road with the traffic signal at Berry Road. For details on this project, visit www.us14-cn.com.
The objective of a grade separation is to help mitigate traffic impacts on the Village street system that will be caused by longer and more frequent CN freight trains that will run on the former EJ&E railway line. Since the inception of the grade separation, the Village has secured funding commitments for $17.5 million dollars, and the Village continues to work with State and Federal partners as well as various grant programs to secure additional funding needed to bring this project to fruition.
The Village’s first goal prior to the deal’s approval was to avoid the severe impacts that would be caused by CN, while the current goal is to force CN to help pay for measures needed to mitigate the traffic congestion its operations will cause in the Barrington community.
As the CN traffic continues to build on the EJ&E line, we understand that resident frustrations are building as well. Across the greater Barrington area, we are hearing the complaints loud and clear about travel delays due to blocked crossings; freight running during peak commuter hours and gridlocking the roads; horn and wayside noise at all hours; and idling trains sitting for long hours.
Because we expect this traffic volume to continue its increase into the months and years ahead, it’s important that you know you have the power to register your complaints to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) during the oversight period for this rail merger. Don’t waste the opportunity to tell federal regulators how CN operations are impacting the quality of life in our community.