Village of Barrington officials announced today that $48 million in federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding has been approved by the federal transportation Metropolitan Planning Organization and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) for a long-awaited grade separation of the Canadian National Railroad at U.S. Route 14 in Barrington near the intersection of Lake Zurich Road.
The $48 million award, which comes from a newly created regional STP fund, provides the necessary funding for the underpass when it is added to the forthcoming state, local, and Canadian National shares that will be expended for the project.
$10 million of the $48 million award will be available immediately to complete Phase II engineering work, final right-of-way acquisitions, and state permitting for the underpass. This phase will begin in January 2020 and continue into 2022. The remaining $38 million of this current award will be spent during the construction phase, which is anticipated to start in late 2022, with substantial completion estimated in 2024.
During the STP regional application review process, the Barrington Route 14 underpass project received the highest score among 68 total projects in the Chicago region. The STP project evaluation was based on project readiness, regional transportation impact, and support of regional planning factors. A significant factor in the project’s high score was the fact that Phase I engineering work had already been completed, and a considerable amount of the needed land acquisition had been achieved in advance of award funding.
The timing of the underpass funding could not be more important, as the Canadian National Railroad announced in early 2019 that it plans to run as many as 9 additional trains per day through Barrington (a 50% increase), once its double-track project between Elgin and Hoffman Estates is approved. This will bring the average number of CN trains running through the Village to 29 per day.
Since Canadian National announced its plan to acquire the EJ&E Railroad in 2007, the Village of Barrington has worked tirelessly to remediate the congestion and safety issues that occur when a CN train obstructs all four Barrington road crossings numerous times per day. With over 80% of Village properties lying on the southeastern side of the CN tracks, the majority of our community cannot access Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital on the northwest side during train delays, a critical life-safety concern that the underpass will alleviate.
“It has been a long and arduous journey to achieve a grade separation at Route 14 in Barrington,” said Village of Barrington President Karen Darch. “It is gratifying to see that our federal, state and regional officials have realized the critical importance of this project from both a transportation and safety standpoint. It brings me great joy to know that in just a few short years, our community will finally have some relief from the congestion, traffic, and public safety issues that have become almost untenable since Canadian National purchased the EJ&E railroad over a decade ago.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. How much will the project actually cost?
During Phase I Engineering, the total cost of the project was estimated to be $73.5 million.
2. Do you have all the money you need to build the underpass?
|Funds Obligated 2011-2019 (Phase I Engineering)||$11.0 million*|
|Current STP Award (October 10, 2019)||$48.0 million|
|Remaining Allocations from Federal, State, Local, CN||$14.5 million|
|Total Project Cost Estimate:||$73.5 million**|
*To date, over $11 million has been expended on the underpass project, including $3.8 million from a TIGER II grant, which Barrington was awarded in 2010 and which was used to complete Phase I engineering. An additional $8 million in federal and state transportation funds were used for the land acquisition achieved thus far.
**This estimate was created during Phase I of the project. As Phase II continues, a more detailed cost estimate will be established.
3. Will Lake Zurich Road relocation be a part of the project?
You may recall that in April 2018, the Barrington Area Library Board voted to discontinue discussions about re-routing Lake Zurich Road. This “Preferred Alternative” plan, which was approved during the community input phase of the underpass planning in 2012, would have rerouted Lake Zurich Road to intersect with the current light at Berry Road in order to remediate the current dangerous intersection with Route 14. Unless the Library Board reconsiders its decision from April 2018, the underpass project will not include the re-routing of Lake Zurich Road. Instead, the road will be connected to the underpass, on a downslope and without a traffic light, at its current location.
4. Do you have the necessary land that you need to complete the underpass?
A considerable amount of the land acquisitions are complete; a number of right-of-way acquisitions and easements still remain.
5. Where will the remaining $14.1 million for the project come from?
The state (Illinois Department of Transportation) has acknowledged the regional significance of this project and has committed to providing a portion of these matching funds in their annual budget programming over the next several years. The remaining funds will come from additional federal, local, and CN funds.
6. How much money will the Village of Barrington be contributing?
The Village dollars that will be allocated to the underpass project include non-participatory costs that the state will not cover for enhancements to the project, such as a multi-use path, streetscapes, and other beautification projects. The Village is expected to contribute about $1.2 million, or 1.6% of the total project cost.
7. Who controls the project? Barrington or IDOT?
Route 14 is a federal highway that is controlled by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). As such, the construction of the underpass (Phase III) will be controlled by IDOT. The Phase I engineering was managed by the Village of Barrington and funded exclusively through federal grants and state matching funds. Phase II acquisition and engineering will continue as a partnership between Barrington and IDOT in order to ensure that Barrington has the highest possible level of input into the design and construction of this critical project in our community.
8. Will Route 14 Be Closed During Construction?
No. In fact, all four lanes of Route 14 will remain OPEN during construction of the underpass. A temporary road will be built just to the north of the current Route 14 between the Library and Route 59 that will carry all four lanes of Route 14 traffic during the underpass construction. There will likely still be some construction delays throughout the project, but the lanes themselves will remain open.