Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program

Project Summary

Hanson provided preliminary and environmental (phase one) engineering services for the Beltway Corridor as part of the $1.5 billion Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program.

CREATE is a first-of-its-kind public/private partnership. Through this partnership, railroads will pay for the business benefits they gain from improvements to the rail network while the government will pay for public benefits such as grade crossing separations and commuter rail improvements.  The project’s benefits may include increased safety, fewer motorist delays, and faster, more efficient rail service.

The primary function of the Beltway Corridor is to provide a bypass route for intermodal and carload train interchanges between western and eastern railroads.

Major features of the Beltway Corridor include:

  • six highway/rail crossing separations,
  • more than 4.8 miles of new track on an existing right-of-way,
  • sixty-six new switches, and
  • more than 13 miles of new “centralized train control” signaling.


Hanson’s phase one report included the preparation of a project report, including land acquisition requirements, environmental assessment, hazardous waste assessment, track alignment, signal layout and design, alignment alternatives, staging and phasing plans, structure reports, and preliminary type, size and location (PTS&L) structure drawings.

Our work also included a supplemental survey, data collection, intersection design studies, hydraulic analysis, bridge condition reports, geometric studies, noise and air quality analyses, cost estimates, traffic management, railway coordination and public involvement activities.

The CREATE plan is anticipated to help Chicago conserve energy and reduce pollution. The plan has many positive environmental benefits, including saving an estimated 7 million gallons of fuel the first year the project is complete and rising to 18 million gallons in 2042, therefore reducing air pollutant emissions.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Association of American Railroads are collaborating to oversee this major rail network project.

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