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Tollway work to rebuild BNSF bridge underway


Last updated 9/11/2019 at 2:59pm | View PDF

Advance work began last week on work to rebuild the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Bridge over Interstate 294 as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway widening project.

The Illinois Tollway is reconstructing the bridge, which carries the triple-track railroad over I-294 between Hinsdale and Western Springs, to accommodate the reconstruction and widening of the Central Tri-State Tollway. The new bridge will be a longer, wider, two-span steel beam structure that will accommodate four tracks, with the fourth track to be used for BNSF maintenance purposes.

According to the Tollway, a bypass bridge, or shoo-fly, will be constructed during 2019 and 2020 to allow railway operations to continue during bridge reconstruction. The bypass will be adjacent to Veeck and Peirce Parks in Hinsdale, as well as Spring Rock Park in Western Springs. As a result, a portion of each of the parks will be closed throughout the project to provide for a safe work zone while allowing park activities to continue throughout construction.

Once the bypass is complete, the existing bridge will be removed and rebuilt in 2021 and 2022.

“Reconstruction of the BNSF Railway Bridge will allow for improvements on I-294, one of the busiest sections of the Tollway, and is a critical piece of the Tollway’s $4 billion Central Tri-State Project,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez in a press release.

The Tollway is expanding I-294 along a 23-mile stretch from 95th Street to Balmoral Avenue, including adding two lanes in each direction to the portion of the expressway adjacent to Hinsdale. Residents who live near the project can expect to see installation of a temporary, eight-foot chain-link construction fencing with dark mesh for safety and to limit visibility of the I-294 from homes.

“The Illinois Tollway promotes safety of both workers and the public as we plan and implement roadway improvements. We will make every effort to minimize the impact of construction on our customers and ask drivers to please be patient and obey the work zone speed limits,” Alvarez said.

The Tollway has acquired eight of the 10 Hinsdale homes that it identified for acquisition as part of the widening project, according to Hinsdale officials. The properties acquired are 417, 423, 427 and 439 Mills Street; and 621, 645, 655 and 703 Harding Road. Demolition permits have been issued.

Kathleen Gargano, Hinsdale’s village manager, said village officials are keeping tabs on project activity. An intergovernmental agreement between the village and Tollway was finalized in the spring.

“The village is monitoring the Tollway activities to ensure compliance with the intergovernmental agreement and regularly meets with the Tollway for updates and to address concerns raised to village staff by stakeholders,” she stated.

Gargano directed residents to visit the village website,, and to click on the “Update on the Tri-State” tab for the latest information.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext 103


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