2021 Annual Newsletter
New year, new look, same great Program!
2020 was a busy year for the CREATE Program and we are excited to share some highlights with you.

Here is what you will read about in our annual newsletter:
  • Visit the New Website!
  • Project Movement
  • Get On Board Goes Virtual
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – In Their Own Words
  • Virtual Job Training Videos for Remote Learners 
  • CRISI Grant – Pullman Junction  
  • 75th St. CIP Recognized for Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Workforce Training for CREATE Projects
  • Continuing the Momentum!
  • Stay Engaged
Visit the New Website!
CREATE was formed in 2003, and our original website was launched right alongside it. As we continue to innovate, it was time for our website to advance with the times, too. Now you can more easily use the site from your phone or tablet too. Check out the Upcoming Events section at the bottom of the homepage to keep up with us on our journey!
Project Movement
2020 was a significant year for project advancement!
Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades (B1) project goes into service!
In December, we celebrated completion of the Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades (B1) project. B1 eliminated commuter and freight train delays by installing five crossovers and associated signaling on the Metra tracks serving the Milwaukee District West Line and Canadian Pacific in Franklin Park. This project also installed a crossover between the Indiana Harbor Belt and CN tracks.

“The completion of CREATE's B1 project is a great milestone in Metra’s work to reduce potential commuter delays throughout the region. The switching and signaling improvements here will save considerable time for both commuters and freight trains, and we are happy to continue our work with the CREATE Program.”
Bruce Marcheschi, Metra’s Chief Operating Officer
“Canadian Pacific is pleased to complete a project that will expedite the movement of people and goods in the Chicago region. We are committed to delivering for our customers and communities, and efficiencies gained in greater Chicago help to keep shipments moving through this important and interconnected terminal area.” 
Jason M. Ross, Canadian Pacific Vice-President Operations, Southern Region
CREATE breaks ground on first portion of the 75th St. CIP!
CREATE has broken ground on Stage 1 of the Forest Hill Flyover (P3) and 71st Street Grade Separation (GS19) projects, the first two components of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP). These projects will facilitate more efficient train movement, reducing idling trains thereby reducing emissions, and helping goods and people reach their destinations faster. Additionally, by constructing a grade separation, motorists, pedestrians and other roadway users including first responders will no longer contend with trains at crossings, making getting around the community faster and safer.

Construction will last through 2024. These improvements were funded in part through a $132 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2018.
CREATE’s Rock Island Bridge Raise Project helps to advance Metra’s new Auburn Park station 
Phase II Final Design is wrapping up on the Rock Island Bridge Raise, a component of the 80th Street Junction Replacements (EW2). This project will raise two bridge spans along the Rock Island Line near 79th Street. This work will facilitate freight train movement as part of the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, and the modified structures will also support the platform of Metra’s planned new Auburn Park station (which will be built in tandem with the CREATE improvement). Construction will begin later this year and is expected to last two years.
Columbus Avenue Grade Separation (GS11) progresses to Phase II
In December, Environmental Studies and Preliminary Engineering (Phase I) wrapped up on the Columbus Avenue Grade Separation (GS11), located at the intersection of the Belt Railway of Chicago tracks and Columbus Avenue, just west of Western Avenue in the Chicago community of Ashburn. This grade separation will eliminate delay to nearly 1,700 vehicles daily. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains. The CREATE partners have now begun Final Design and Right-of-Way Acquisition (Phase II) for this project, which is expected to conclude in mid-2022.
Get On Board Goes Virtual
The CREATE Program partners once again are hosting Get On Board! This event fosters networking opportunities between certified and prospective Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms, small businesses and rail-industry prime contractors specializing in engineering, design and construction. While the potential work opportunities are vast, this event will focus on design, engineering and other related business opportunities. Railroad supplier diversity and procurement professionals will answer questions and provide information during the virtual event.

CREATE partners will host online panels on:
  • Upcoming Work with the CREATE Program
  • Working with the Railroads
  • Securing Work with Public Agencies

Online networking sessions will also be offered! You can sign up to attend some or all of the panels and networking sessions. It all starts on Monday, April 26, at 10 am!

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – In Their Own Words
Getting involved in rail projects as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) has historically been a challenge for smaller minority owned firms. The CREATE Program has identified these obstacles and taken deliberate steps to help DBEs meet and successfully team with prime firms so they can more effectively contribute to rail projects. Don’t just take our word for it – watch the video with Rashod R. Johnson, CEO of DBE-firm Ardmore Roderick, to learn about the firm and the work they do on the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project.
Virtual Job Training Videos for Remote Learners 
CRISI Grant - Pullman Junction
CRISI Grant sound familiar? The CREATE Program also received a CRISI Grant in 2019 for the Dolton Junction Interlocking project (WA11). The CREATE partnership is honored to continue to be recognized as a nationally significant public-private partnership.
75th St. CIP Recognized for Corporate Social Responsibility by Publicity Club of Chicago
The CREATE Program partners are proud to have been recognized in 2020 by the Publicity Club of Chicago for all the work our team has done so far with educational initiatives in the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project community. The CREATE Program was awarded a silver trumpet for Corporate Social Responsibility at the 61st Annual Golden Trumpet Awards ceremony. Congratulations to our project team for their great work and all the projects that were honored at the event!
Workforce Training for CREATE Projects
The CREATE partners are proud to partner with the Highway Construction Careers Training Program (HCCTP) at Dawson Technical Institute of Kennedy-King College. In collaboration with the Federal Highway Administration, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) initiated the Highway Construction Careers Training Program (HCCTP) in late 2009 in an effort to increase access to transportation infrastructure construction jobs for minorities, women and disadvantaged individuals. The HCCTP emphasizes life-long learning and provides opportunities for further education and assistance to improve employability in Illinois’ transportation infrastructure construction industry.
Upon graduation from the HCCTP, Roy Barrett landed a construction laborer position on CREATE’s Argo Connections (B9) project in 2019. We caught up with Roy last year to find out how his work is going. Roy shared that he uses all the skills he learned in the training program in his job.
Continuing the Momentum!
2020 was a productive year for the CREATE Program and we are excited to continue the momentum! We’ve already hit the ground running in 2021, starting with a briefing and tour in February for Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-3). It was a privilege to take the Congresswoman on a tour of the Englewood Flyover (P1), Forest Hill Junction and 71st Street Grade Separation (P3/GS19), Columbus/BRC Grade Separation (GS11), the Belt Railway of Chicago’s Clearing Yard, CSX’s Bedford Park intermodal yard and Bridgeview Grade Separation (GS14).

We appreciate the Congresswoman's active engagement with CREATE and are excited to work closely with her, the new administration and the 117th Congress to advance our shared goal of improving our region’s transportation infrastructure.
Stay Engaged
While we’re not seeing each other in person much these days, we can still stay in touch!

Follow CREATE on Facebook and Twitter and sign-up for our mailing lists to ensure you know when the latest procurement notices, project updates and event information is available.

Argo Connections (B9) is expected to be completed late this year. Keep an eye out for information about a project completion event.

As always, CREATE representatives are available to provide briefings, presentations and tours – reach us at info@createprogram.org if you are interested!