BNSF Railway Bridge Project marks 60 percent in May


The Illinois Tollway is passing the 60 percent complete mark on the replacement of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Bridge over the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294), with the placement of the last of the new beams needed to build the bridge to carry commuter and freight trains over the Tollway. 

Altogether, 24 new steel beams will be installed in May to support BNSF tracks 1, 2 and 3. Beam placement is scheduled at night to provide a safe work zone and reduce the impact on daily commuters – roadway and rail.

Rail operations have been continuing uninterrupted during construction, thanks to a temporary “shoo-fly” bridge and maintenance track built in 2020.  On average, approximately 104 Metra and Amtrak trains cross this bridge daily, as well as 52 daily freight trains.

Once the new beams are in place, the contractor will place embankment and complete all other necessary work to achieve “grade ready,” so BNSF track laying forces can begin realigning the railroad tracks onto the new structure.

What did it take to get to 60 percent? 

  • Relocate fiber optic cables and utilities
  • Build the shoofly bridge and shift BNSF and Metra train traffic
  • Remove the old bridge
  • Remove and replace abutments and center pier for the new bridge
  • Install new bridge beams

Work on the BNSF Railway Bridge started in 2019 and is scheduled to continue through 2022.

Read more about the project here.