SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Commerce Commission authorized on Thursday the use of $18 million to assist the City of Decatur pay for the cost of construction and railroad crossing upgrades on several city streets.
The funds will allow for the following projects to take place:
- Construction of a road overpass over train tracks near Brush College Road
- Installation of gates and median barriers at the Faries Parkway railroad crossing
- Relocation and gating of the Harrison Avenue railroad crossing
The construction and improvement projects are part of the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.
“Rebuild Illinois is as much about making the day-to-day trips of Illinois families easier as it is about our role in the national transportation network,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “This $18 million will reduce congestion and increase safety for the residents of Decatur, making it easier for them to get to work, school, and other parts of their daily lives. I’m proud to bring this progress to Decatur as another way Rebuild Illinois is re-shaping the region.”
The approved projects address several safety concerns raised by the proximity of two railroad crossings near a busy intersection. It is currently not possible to install flashing lights, gates or bells at either crossing, which enables drivers to attempt to beat the train to the crossings. Since 1990, there have been more than 20 train-vehicle collisions at these crossings, but no one has been killed.
Drivers are often motivated to beat the train because trains frequently stop and block traffic, often for long periods of time.
“As a resident of Decatur, I am extremely familiar with these crossings and how dangerous the situation can be for motorist, frustrated by having to sit and wait long periods of time to cross due to trains blocking the way,” said ICC Commissioner Michael Carrigan. “This project is a top priority for the ICC, and this funding will go far in helping the City of Decatur to install much needed protections at these high traffic crossings with a long history of train-vehicle collisions.”
The projects are expected to be complete by 2026.