Illinois Transportation Secretary Announces Next Step to Advance Toward Full High-Speed Rail Service from Chicago to St. Louis
IDOT Selects Consultant Firms to Complete Environmental Studies for the Project
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L.
Schneider announced today the three consultant firms recently
selected to complete Tier 2 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
and advance the high-speed rail project from Chicago to St.
“The environmental studies are a crucial element to move
projects of this magnitude to construction,” said Secretary
Schneider. “Once these environmental studies are complete and
approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, we will be
several steps closer to offering high-speed rail service on the
entire Chicago-St. Louis corridor in Illinois.”
Through the leadership of Senator Durbin and Governor Quinn,
Illinois has received more than $1.4 billion in federal funding
to develop high-speed service between Chicago and St. Louis,
which is expected to reduce travel times between the two cities
and create about 6,200 direct and indirect jobs. The governor’s
Illinois Jobs Now! capital program has invested a total of $400
million toward high-speed rail. In 2012, the first trains
traveling at 110 mph made their successful debut on a stretch
between Dwight and Pontiac during a demonstration run and began
service for daily passengers. The project will deliver 110 mile
per hour rail service between Dwight and Alton by 2015 and
between Dwight and Joliet by 2017.
Hanson Professional Services was selected to complete the
environmental study for the Springfield Flyover component, a
needed rail overpass south of Springfield to eliminate a
bottleneck for train congestion. Parsons Transportation Group
was selected to complete the environmental study for the Chicago
to Joliet corridor segment, and Michael Baker Jr. and STV Inc.
were selected for the Alton to St. Louis corridor segment.
As part of the project requirements, each consultant firm is
required to meet or exceed a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
(DBE) goal for subcontractors working on the projects. The DBE
goal for the Springfield Flyover is 25 percent, Chicago to
Joliet is 30 percent and Alton to St. Louis is 20 percent. The
total cost for the three environmental studies is $47 million.
For large projects, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
encourages agencies to tier their environmental reviews in
stages, Tier 1 and Tier 2. The Tier 1 environmental review
received final approval in December 2012 by the FRA, and
documents potential environmental impacts at the corridor or
program level. In a Tier 2 environmental document, more
site-specific projects or actions are addressed to prepare for
construction. The EIS is required to complete the full build-out
of the project, including the double-tracking and route
improvements between Joliet and Chicago, through the city of
Springfield and from Alton to St. Louis.
The consultant firms were among a total of 21 selected by the
IDOT Consultant Selection Committee last week for 21 projects
totaling $68 million as advertised in the Professional
To follow progress, updates and completed improvements along
the signature Chicago-St. Louis high-speed rail corridor, please
visit www.idothsr.org. For
the latest Amtrak schedules, fares and more information, visit
www.Amtrak.com or call