DECATUR, Ill — SMART Transportation Division Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy was on hand March 30 as state Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a $200 million investment in about two dozen state projects to improve the flow of freight on rail and road.

Among the 22 projects and most important to TD membership is $10 million to complete funding for a $75 million grade-crossing improvement in the city of Decatur to eliminate a chronically blocked crossing near the Midwest Inland Port.

The creation of the overpass at Faries Parkway and the Norfolk Southern will separate the Norfolk Southern tracks from regular vehicle traffic, eliminating a notorious bottleneck that has been blocked by trains for as long as 17 hours at a time.

“Railroad operating employees know all too well that the overwhelming amount of fatalities and injuries in our industry occur at railroad grade crossings or are due to trespassing events,” SLD Guy said.  “It’s a train crew’s worst nightmare to strike a vehicle or pedestrian at or near a crossing. Grade separation projects like this one provide a win-win situation for workers and communities alike. Removing the opportunity for a tragedy at an at-grade crossing while also freeing up the flow of vehicular traffic, especially at a time when crossings are blocked for longer times due to increased train length, improves safety for rail workers, emergency responders and communities as a whole.”

The awards, announced jointly by Pritzker and the state Department of Transportation, are part of the state’s $33.2 billion Rebuild Illinois plan to rebuild and revitalize the state’s transportation infrastructure using state and federal funds.

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