Infrastructure a priority in meeting with Sen. Duckworth

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Elmwood Park mayor discusses Grand Avenue grade separation

Staff Reporter

ELMWOOD PARK  | Infrastructure improvements, such as grade separations, water retention ponds, and business corridor improvements have been hot button topics across Proviso Township in 2017.

Most recently Angelo “Skip” Saviano, Elmwood Park Village President met with US Senator Tammy Duckworth last week in Washington, DC to discuss priorities in Elmwood Park, including infrastructure improvements and grant opportunities to fund those improvements. This was Saviano’s first meeting with the Freshman Senator since she was elected last November. He visited Washington D.C. as part of a delegation from the West Central Municipal Conference.

“We had a friendly and productive meeting with Senator Duckworth,” Saviano said. “Elmwood Park had a strong relationship with former Senator Mark Kirk and we want to make sure Senator Duckworth is aware of our ongoing projects and priorities.”

A top infrastructure priority for Elmwood Park and the region is the railroad grade separation at Grand Avenue. Two phases of engineering are needed before construction of the grade separation can proceed. The required engineering will cost $7 million. Earlier this year, Elmwood Park secured $4.2 million in federal grant money for the engineering, but the grants are contingent upon local matching dollars of $2.8 million. The Village is engaged in on-going discussions with both Cook County and the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the funding needed.

“It’s important to remember that once the engineering is complete, the Grand Avenue grade separation will be shovel ready,” Saviano said. “Shovel ready projects are typically positioned to receive funding ahead of other projects that haven’t been engineered yet.”

The actual construction project will cost around $90 million and is a top priority of officials at the federal, state, and local levels who have long worried about major safety issues and motor vehicle delays at this diagonal crossing. A federal safety investigation into a major accident in 2005 cited the complex grade crossing as a major reason behind a train collision with multiple vehicles.

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