Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294)

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Bridge Project

The Illinois Tollway is reconstructing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Bridge, which carries the triple-track railroad over the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) between Hinsdale and Western Springs, to accommodate the widening of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

In 2022, the Tollway is scheduled to complete removal of the bypass railroad bridge that was used to allow BNSF and Metra to maintain uninterrupted freight and commuter rail operations during bridge reconstruction. Additional work this year includes constructing permanent retaining walls, shoulder paving, as well as pavement work on Burlington Avenue.

Construction of the new, longer BNSF Railway Bridge structure was completed and opened for use by Metra and BNSF trains in 2021. Work on the BNSF Railway Bridge began in 2019 is scheduled to continue through 2022.

 

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BNSF Railway Bridge Location

BNSF Railway Bridge Reconstruction Location
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BNSF Railway Bridge Beam Staging

BNSF Railway Bridge Beam Staging
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BNSF Railway Bridge Reconstruction Phases

BNSF Railway Bridge Project Phases
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Construction Update (9/23/22)

Traffic in both directions between the Ogden Avenue and 55th Street is shifted. Traffic is scheduled to remain shifted through summer. 

Please check the Daily Construction Alert for up-to-date closure information.

 

Innovation

The Illinois Tollway integrated the use of self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) technology for the installation of bridge beams for the BNSF Railway Bridge. Use of the SPMT technology reduced customer impact to two weekends, compared to two months of overnight and weekend lane closures with full stops typically scheduled for conventional bridge construction.

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SPMT Bridge Construction Photo

A Regional Solution

The Central Tri-State Tollway is being reconstructed to increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve travel reliability. This work is part of the Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future. More than 220,000 vehicles use this portion of the Tri-State Tollway daily.

A detailed planning and refinement process is underway to complete a design concept for rebuilding the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). This process includes outreach efforts with customers, communities, businesses and partners to identify regional improvements and continue to refine the design details.

Visit the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) outreach page.

Purpose

The $96 million BNSF Railroad Bridge Project is part of the $4 billion Central Tri-State Project. Reconstruction of the BNSF Railway Bridge will allow for increased traffic capacity on I-294 and improve the overall driving experience through one of the busiest section of the Tollway.

As the bridge is expected to last for decades to come, the bridge is being designed to accommodate foreseeable future needs to the greatest extent possible.

Work Zone Safety

The Illinois Tollway is committed to ensuring that the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and the railroad remain safe for both drivers and workers during construction, which is part of the agency’s overall commitment to roadway safety.

Work zone speed limits are in effect in all construction zones 24/7 and drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution, especially when workers are present. On I-294, a 45 mph work zone speed limit is in effect throughout the construction season.

Visit the Tollway's Work Zone Safety page.