Metra Approves $93 Million Englewood Flyover Construction Contract

The Englewood Flyover is a rail modernization project that could greatly decrease national and regional transportation delays. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood put it last October, Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood features “one of the most hopelessly tangled railway bottlenecks in North America” but the project would “improve performance and efficiency for the region’s freight, passenger, and commuter rail.”

The project was put on hold due to concerns about the hiring practices of bidding construction firms, but yesterday brought an announcement on a contract agreement to start work.

Metra’s board of directors today approved a $93 million contract for construction of a railroad bridge on the south side that three congressmen had threatened to block because they said it would not provide enough jobs to African Americans in the economically depressed neighborhood.

The approval came after Metra chairman Larry Huggins said a deal had been worked out between the congressmen, led by Bobby Rush, to guarantee jobs for residents of the Englewood community….

The railroad bridge is known as the Englewood Flyover and the $141 million project is intended to reduce commuter and freight rail congestion.

The contract was awarded to the low bidder, IHC Construction and Illinois Constructors Joint Venture.

Huggins said he was told the contractor has agreed to increase minority and disadvantaged business (DBE) participation in the contract from 25 percent to about 40 percent.

Twenty-five percent DBE participation is the amount required by law.

Issues relating to rail transportation are examined in several Roosevelt University seminars, including SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning (to be offered online in Spring 2012) and SUST 310 Energy and Climate Change. For more information on these or any other of our courses, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.

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