Getting to Toyota Park this year will be a smooth ride thanks to the reopening of 71st Street. This Grade Separation significantly reduces traffic delays and improves safety for businesses, residents and soccer fans. 71st Street is a four-lane urban collector street with an industrial park to the south, Toyota Park Sports Stadium to the north and residential neighborhoods to the southeast. Funding for this nearly $30 million project came from both federal and state transportation programs – CREATE (Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency), TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) and Illinois Jobs Now.
Construction of an 84” storm sewer under the lowered roadway, and relocation of an existing 8 inch 150 psi gas main, 4 major communication fiber optic lines and an existing 16-inch water main had to be completed prior to the construction of the proposed bridge abutments.
In order to build the viaduct, the project was synchronized with very active rail service and operations. The road was totally reconstructed as an underpass with a new railroad bridge constructed that now carries the 4 track service for the CSX and Indiana Harbor Belt Railroads. Rail service was throughout the construction, except for a final 10 hour interruption during the final phase of the bridge installation. The existing at-grade crossing provided service for 80 trains a day, which regularly caused major traffic delays for motorists.
This project was awarded the 2014 APWA Chicago Metro, Suburban Brand Project of the Year, Transportation over $25 Million.