NORMAL — Traction for a $22.69 million mission to construct a pedestrian underpass in uptown Normal is selecting up steam as city officers anticipate getting into the ultimate design section.

“It takes a very long time to coordinate this kind of mission, however right now we’re very comfortable,” Normal Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich mentioned Friday. “Our companions are very invested on this mission as properly.”


Amtrak passengers wishing to board a north- or southbound practice on monitor 2 on the uptown Transportation Heart face the generally troublesome prospect of navigating busy streets or tracks till an underpass is constructed.

Because the first phase of engineering nears completion, Aldrich mentioned the city may enter the second stage — last design, development bidding and utility relocation — as early as October.

A rough timeline would have construction starting in December 2022 with completion in September 2024.

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Normal is leading the project with several partners: the U.S. Division of Transportation, the Illinois Division of Transportation, the Illinois Commerce Fee, Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Amtrak.

Cash for the long-anticipated underpass, which might run beneath the Union Pacific tracks subsequent to Uptown Station, will come from federal, state and native sources.


With out an underpass round practice tracks, Amtrak passengers wishing to board a north- or southbound practice on monitor 2 on the uptown Transportation Heart face a generally troublesome passage.

The majority of the mission will probably be funded by means of a $13 million federal grant awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration. Regular additionally anticipates utilizing $3 million in federal Part 13- Railway-Freeway Crossings Program funds, that are allotted to the state by the FRA for IDOT to disperse.

State {dollars} embody a $5 million Rebuild Illinois Capital Program grant awarded to the city by the Illinois Commerce Fee.

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If accepted by the City Council, Regular would commit $1.69 million for the mission. The city has spent round $1.5 million on a feasibility research and preliminary design for the mission all through the primary section as a part of a 2016 contract with advisor WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff of New York Metropolis.  

Although mission design started in 2016, Regular first started discussing a possible crossing on the Union Pacific tracks in January 2012. At the moment, the city was exploring the opportunity of a pedestrian overpass.


A biker rides a path that can finally grow to be the underpass on the uptown Transportation Heart.

In 2014, Union Pacific eliminated a pedestrian at-grade crossing that beforehand allowed cyclists and pedestrians to simply transfer throughout the tracks. The crossing was eliminated on account of issues of safety, Aldrich mentioned.

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Now, Amtrak customers exiting on the south aspect of the tracks should stroll down towards Linden Road and stroll again towards Uptown Station alongside Beaufort Road to achieve the opposite aspect of the tracks.

Through the first section of the mission, Regular performed another evaluation to discover a number of prospects for pedestrian crossings, together with an overpass and an at-grade crossing. The evaluation confirmed that, with a rise in practice and pedestrian site visitors, an underpass would finest serve the realm, mentioned Aldrich.

“We checked out going over and going beneath as properly, however the at-grade-type crossing — it was fatally flawed, as a result of the companies wouldn’t allot that sort of crossing on account of security issues,” he mentioned.

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Along with accessibility, the underpass would function a part of the city’s overarching objective to stimulate financial growth for the proposed “Uptown South,” mentioned Metropolis Supervisor Pam Reece.

There, Regular hopes to assemble a brand new Regular Public Library in an space south of the tracks.

As soon as development does start, Aldrich mentioned it may generate round 400 direct or oblique jobs associated to development and consulting. 

“Actually, it simply connects exercise from the north aspect to exercise on the south aspect,” mentioned Reece. “We’re simply enthusiastic about what this mission means.”

On Monday, the Regular City Council will hear a full up to date report on the historical past of the underpass mission, in addition to the funding and plans for the longer term. 

Aldrich will give the presentation throughout a council work session beginning at 5:15 p.m. An everyday City Council assembly will observe.

The council additionally will think about approving a number of resolutions, together with:

  • A $31,000 contract bid with CORE Building for the Fortunate Climber IDNR Public Museums Grant Venture.
  • The execution of an intergovernmental settlement with Bloomington, McLean County and the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District for the administration and implementation of watershed administration packages.
  • The execution of an intergovernmental settlement with Bloomington and McLean County for cost-sharing for the Group Drop Field Recycling Program.
  • A $34,500 proposal for boiler substitute on the city’s Water Therapy Plant to Mahoney Mechanical.
  • A $129,066.43 bid to Western Waterproofing for roof substitute at 4 wellhouses and the city’s West Booster Station.

The digital assembly will start at 7 p.m. Monday. It may be livestreamed by means of the city’s YouTube page.

Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Observe her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.

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