Hanson has served as an engineering consultant on several Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) projects since 2010. The CREATE program, established in 2003, is a public-private partnership with the goal of improving the safety and quality of the Chicago area’s rail network so it can better accommodate growing passenger and freight traffic.
Hanson provided Phase 2 design engineering for the CREATE B2 project for the Union Pacific Railroad (UP). The design included the construction of an additional third mainline track on the UP Geneva Subdivision between Elmhurst and 19th Avenue in Melrose Park, Illinois, including the construction of two additional railroad bridges over Addison Creek.
The 3.5-mile project included the design of a skewed through plate girder flyover structure on a curved alignment from the Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) mainline to the westbound UP mainline track. The flyover crosses over the UP mainline tracks and connects with the new third main and with Proviso Yard. The design upgraded the connection track operation speed between the UP and the IHB from 10 mph to 25 mph.
Hanson coordinated signal design work in conjunction with the addition of the third main. The project shifted the UP mainlines between Provo Junction and Mannheim Road, provided new connections to Proviso Yard on the east and west ends and modified two Metra passenger stations at Berkeley and Bellwood to accommodate the addition of the new third mainline track.
The project’s benefits for the surrounding area have included increased freight and passenger routes and the ability to accommodate more trains simultaneously, such as an extra track that freight trains can use during peak times for Metra passenger train traffic. Prior to the project’s completion, freight trains experienced three- to- four-hour standing delays during Metra rush hours. The same was often true for Metra trains when freight trains were allowed to proceed but were unable to leave the area quickly enough to allow a commuter train to pass.