Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad Underpass

The Village of East Hazel Crest hired Robinson Engineering, Ltd. (REL) to provide a Phase I Study and Phase II Contract Plans for roadway lowering and reconstruction of 171st Street under the Canadian National/Illinois Central at the Markham rail yard. 171st Street is a two-lane urban collector with average daily traffic of 19,700.

171st Street was originally constructed under four railroad bridges at this location with an average clearance of 11’ 1”. This has caused major problems with the flow of truck traffic under these bridges and has resulted in several trucks becoming stuck under the bridges. This has resulted in considerable delays for the commuters that use this route. The original construction also did not include an adequate drainage system, resulting in continual flooding issues during large storm events. Since this route bisects the Village of East Hazel Crest and is the only link that connects the east side to the west side, it was determined that the roadway needed to be lowered for better clearance and that a drainage system with a detention pond needed to be constructed.

Key Design Considerations

  • Coordination with CN/IC Railroad, IDOT, Federal Highway Administration, Interstate Commerce Commission, Cook County Highway Department and Village of East Hazel Crest. Reconstruction and detention pond alternative supported by all agencies.

  • Increased overhead roadway clearance, eliminated recurring drainage problems, and improved roadway and pedestrian safety.

  • Evaluated three (3) existing signalized intersections within the study limits for accident analysis, sight distance and required geometry.

  • Completed Intersection Design Studies with new vertical profiles and analysis of 20 year projected traffic at three signalized intersections.

  • Evaluated right of way impacts on commercial and residential properties, including relocations.

  • Environmental study completed.

  • Design of a closed drainage system, and pond for the 50-year storm event and sizing of the pump station.

  • Design of a new sanitary lift station due to conflicts with the existing location and with the existing force main.

  • Underpass and roadway lighting design for length of project.

  • Design of retaining walls throughout the length of project due to the lowering of the roadway profile.

  • Design and construction of a 12” watermain to connect the East and West halves of the village.

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