Carrying 59 commuter trains and over 70 freight trains per day, Metra sought to improve the infrastructure for the 3rd mainline addition on the UP West line, which stretches from Chicago to the area’s western suburbs. The project included 7.8 miles of new mainline track, as well as additional infrastructure improvements to three existing Metra stations, various at-grade crossings and several bridges, improving the infrastructure and commuting conditions across the Fox River, Des Plaines River and Route 31. With various challenges including right-of-way acquisition needs, Benesch was brought onto the project to provide structural, civil and station design services.
In the beginning of the design process, Benesch reached out to the communities of the impacted stations along the rail corridor, as it allowed for up front planning of facilities. The accelerated survey and preliminary track alignment design provided analysis in order to compare the costs and benefits of land acquisition versus various construction elements. Critical to this project’s design, this process included environmental permitting and land acquisition early on, allowing additional aspects of the project to fall into place, keeping project on schedule.