Durbin Announces $2.9 Million For Completion Of Railroad Grade Separations

[GALESBURG, IL] – The city of Galesburg will see traffic flow improvements, enhanced safety for motorists and pedestrians and the potential for new jobs with the help of $2.9 million in federal funding U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) secured to help the City complete three railroad grade separations.  Shortly after his April 16, 2009 meeting with Galesburg officials and visit to the BNSF hump tower, Durbin fulfilled his promise to secure the federal funding needed to make the grade separations a reality. 
The funding was included in the fiscal year 2010 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill which is now law, and will be administered by the Federal Railroad Administration. 
“Galesburg has shown what can happen when a community can reach consensus and speak with one voice – they said fixing these railroad crossings was their number one priority,” said Durbin. “Well-maintained railroad grade separations like these are a great resource in any community, and are critical to interstate commerce and highway-rail safety.  Their construction will provide much-needed economic stimulus for Galesburg and Knox County.”
 “Improvements in transportation help retain and attract businesses, and building these grade separations will deepen Galesburg’s strong ties to the railroad industry. In turn, this city will be an easier place for businesses to move their products to and from the marketplace. That’s a big incentive that many other cities don’t have to offer,” said Durbin.
The separations will also create the potential for future expansion of the rail yard, already the second largest one in its system, which would be a welcome addition to the local economy as Galesburg’s unemployment rate sits near 10 percent.  The grade separation improvements and the resulting benefits for freight traffic will be incentives for BNSF to move more rail traffic into Galesburg, Durbin said.
The three grade separations will be built at Seminary, East Main, and West Main Streets and will improve response time for emergency vehicles, increase traffic flow throughout the region, and assist city efforts to move ahead with quiet zone projects. The Seminary Street overpass is of particular importance because both Galesburg Cottage Hospital and OSF St. Mary Medical Center, as well as the town’s ambulance services are on the north side of the city, and an ambulance delayed even two to three minutes because of a freight train can mean the difference between life and death.

Durbin was joined at the announcement by State Representative Donald Moffitt (R- Gilson) and Galesburg Mayor Salvador Garza.