Illinois Tollway, Canadian Pacific Railroad fighting over railyard land

Both railroads and tollways are important in the Chicago region so which should get their way when they both want the same land?

The Tollway has already built part of I-390 with the intention of extending it east to O’Hare. A new tollway would meet I-390 and connect it north to I-90 and south to the Tri-State Tollway along the airport’s western border. The project is expected to cost about $3.5 billion…

In March 2014, Canadian Pacific asked for $114 million for land acquisition and improvements to its Bensenville yard. The Tollway wants to use about 36 acres of the yard for the highway project. But the Tollway said CP restricted Tollway access to the yard, interfering with its ability to study the area to respond to the offer.

Schillerstrom said that the Tollway presented plans that addressed the railroad’s operational and land acquisition worries in November 2015, but CP ended discussions and since then has not been willing to discuss anything…

“With $140 million in federal dollars already invested in the project, Sen. Durbin is concerned about Canadian Pacific’s newfound unwillingness to work with the Tollway and other stakeholders,” Marter said. “After years of working toward a mutually beneficial solution, the railroad’s about-face is troubling.”

I’m a little surprised the state let this go so long and/or they didn’t wrap this piece of the puzzle up before they put themselves between a rock and a hard place. I imagine the public might rally around the cause of the tollway here – the road could help a number of drivers – but CP is correct about the level of railroad gridlock in the Chicago region. Say more about this particular railyard here; the picture at the top highlights the size of the facility.

Might this call for some sort of deal where the land in this railyard is traded for some other land or access elsewhere in the region? One solution to railroad congestion is to funnel more traffic around the edges of the region.

 

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