Epstein's engineers were responsible for updating the Phase I report, performing alternative analysis and Phase II engineering for a new railroad bridge on the BNSF line near the Western Springs Metra Station to create a new pedestrian grade separation. This project was completed for the Illinois Tollway under a Tri-State Tollway, Design Upon Request task order contract.
Metra passengers and pedestrians were previously faced with crossing the tracks at grade which included climbing stairs or ramp up to the tracks, crossing and going back down. This crossing had heavy pedestrian traffic being just west of the Metra station as well as heavy passenger train and freight train traffic. All of these issues required a new solution to provide a safer means for pedestrians and passengers to cross the tracks.
Epstein’s scope included performing a tunnel-type study, data collection, alternative analysis, a Phase I Addendum approved by IDOT, and Phase II engineering. Improvements included a new railroad bridge to create an underpass with sidewalk connections to the existing infrastructure, lighting, drainage, and ADA ramps. Coordination with the adjacent BNSF Bridge over I-294 was also required.
The design solution chosen is a single span bridge with pre-stressed precast concrete box beams supported on precast abutment caps and steel piles. The embankment below the bridge is excavated and replaced with a soldier pile wall beneath the bridge.
Epstein was responsible for the railroad bridge while subconsultants designed the solder pile wall and pedestrian path. The railroad bridge is in accordance with BNSF standards, and was reviewed and approved by BNSF.
The new tunnel created under the track provides a safe connection to neighborhoods, the popular Spring Rock Park with sports fields and courts on the south side, and a park district pool on the north side. This tunnel also features new lighting and security cameras for added safety.