University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022
More than 660 bills will head to Pritzker after legislative session

Fed funds flow for Archer/Knox underpass

But project may take years

By Tim Hadac

Some $19.1 million in federal funds have been designated for a road project designed to ease traffic congestion on Archer Avenue.

The announcement was made last week by U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd), in concert with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

MarieNewman2021

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd)

The funds will reportedly be earmarked to pay for creation of an underpass at Archer and Knox—dropping Archer Avenue so motorists may drive under the Belt Railway Company of Chicago tracks with no delay.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program.

“For decades, rail delays have disrupted the daily life of Chicago’s Southwest Side residents, impacting commutes, emergency vehicle response times and more,” Newman said in a statement. “Since my first day in Congress, I have been fighting to address this through real investments in innovative infrastructure that will not only solve these delays but create good-paying jobs at the same time.”

Newman said the funds “will alleviate a major source of traffic on the Southwest Side, improving commute times within the transportation and economic hub of Illinois’ Third District.”

The grade separation project at Archer and Knox was first announced with fanfare in 2015, but stalled in recent years. According to the project website, Phase I of its three-phase process is still underway—just 30% completed.

When asked for specifics on when ground will be broken and when the underpass will be complete, a Newman spokesman said he did not know, and pledged to reach out to the Illinois Department of Transportation for an answer.

The Archer Avenue and BRC Grade Separation Project is part of the CREATE Program–a partnership that includes the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, U.S. Department of Transportation, Metra, Amtrak and the nation’s freight railroads. It is designed to eliminate freight rail and motor vehicle bottlenecks, boost the economy of northeastern Illinois and improve the overall safety and environment of the region.

In a typical 24-hour period, about 18,600 vehicles and 259 CTA buses cross the Belt Railway tracks at Archer and Knox. Their path is often blocked by 32 freight trains–causing congestion, delays and a disruption of the flow of traffic for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Further, Archer/Knox is a designated 911 crossing, meaning its access for emergency responders is critical.

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