Despite being well aware of how long 4 Mile Road near the Union Pacific Railroad would be closed, some residents are starting to lose patience with the underpass project.
Village engineer Mike Hayek acknowledged that while the project hasn’t been going fast enough for some residents, progress has been made, and the scheduled open date is planned for July 2013. The road was originally closed in October 2011 and was set to complete by the end of this year.
However, the project, which is meant to ease traffic congestion along the railroad tracks on Four Mile Road just west of Douglas Avenue, has been in the works since 2005. The underpass project was initiated because of a $2 billion We Energies expansion, which was completed in January.
Hayek told the in May that he needed to rebid some of the track work because Union Pacific, the company that originally planned to do the work, pulled out of doing part of the project because they didn't have the manpower to do it, according to a story in the Journal Times.
The scope of the project has also changed to include two bridges instead of one. They've also reduced the track shift from three to two.
“The UP is planning on working Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day to shift the train onto the new bypass so they can build the new bridge on old train track,” Hayek said.
Now that the crane has arrived and is assembled, construction workers can start building the bridge as soon as the train has been shifted onto the bypass tracks.
“We’ve been buying iron for the bridge and there’s been a lot of project management work being done,” Hayek said. “Once the first bridge is built, the trains can shift back in the spring and we can start digging underneath the eastside of the road.”
The Village Board approved the new contract with Volkmann Railroad Builders in May for $367,134, but that doesn't include the cost of the engineering work and steel track, which was already purchased by the village.
The numbers the Union Pacific bid out and the contract with Volkmann aren't comparable, Hayek said, because Union Pacific was going to do all of the track work for $1.4 million, but now they are only doing some of the work.