Western Avenue Closed at Tracks for Eight Days

EJ&E Construction

Workers remove asphalt from the EJ&E Railroad crossing Saturday. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Updated April 25 at 5:22 p.m. with information on projected completion date and time 

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The EJ&E Railroad tracks closed Saturday morning as the Western Avenue construction project continues. The tracks will be closed for eight days. Workers began digging and removing the asphalt between the tracks. Trains continue to travel the tracks this week at a reduced speed as they cross Western.

The crossing has long been a bumpy ride, but the railroad postponed a major rehab until the Western Avenue project was underway. While pleased to see the needed repair to the crossing get underway, some residents want to see more done about the many times trains stop completely on Western, blocking traffic sometimes for as much as 20 minutes.

"The thing that concerns me the most about the trains stopping on Western for so long is the emergency vehichles that use that main artery to get to St. James Hospital and other hospitals," says Ginny Raftery. "And of course, all the people trying to get to work in the morning and home in the eveniong will be very frustrated."

Bill Feimer would like to see an overpass, " It seems that the railroad does not get the fact that their trains are often blocking Western Avenue, one of only two north south routes through the Village, for long periods of time. This most always happens because the westbound trains have to wait for access to the single track west of the village until east bound trains have passed. If the railroad would extend the double track further west where it is essentially open country roads, this waiting for eastbound trains would not create such traffic congestion or interfere with emergency vehicles. If the railroad is not going to address this problem, the village may need to petition the state for help, such as putting in an overpass over the tracks on Western Avenue to end the congestion."

Canadian National has plans to increase railroad traffic along the line from 8 trains a day to 32 trains a day.

This concerns George Fabian, " I would be all for the acquisition if they put either an overpass or underpass at their tracks on Western Ave."

Friday afternoon update

According to Director of Public Works and Village Engineer Ken Eyer, as of Friday afternoon work at the crossing is complete and it is ready to open. However, there is a problem in that NICOR has some of their operations in the way. This will delay the opening to sometime Saturday evening.