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A Mitchell area railroad reconfiguration project is in for more than $5 million in federal funding.

U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin said the Illinois Department of Transportation receive $5,083,719 in federal funding to support the Lenox Interlocking Reconfiguration Project in Madison County, which aims to increase speeds and operational flexibility for both passenger and freight services.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration’s Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program.

“Dozens of freight trains used the old Lenox Interlocking System each day, slowing traffic and causing significant delays for rail and highway users,” Duckworth said. “This critical funding for the Illinois Department of Transportation will help our state modernize the interlocking and relieve this bottleneck to improve reliability and bring local jobs to Madison County, while also updating our regional and national transportation systems. I am committed to working with Senator Durbin and local leaders to promote infrastructure investments across the state and bring home as many federal dollars as possible.”

“This important federal investment will improve rail speed and service reliability for Amtrak passengers and freight services in the Metro East region,” Durbin said. “Senator Duckworth and I are proud to support this improvement project, and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois’ transportation infrastructure.”

IDOT will use these funds to reconfigure the Lenox Interlocking System in Mitchell, a small unincorporated area outside Granite City. Four rail lines carrying 46 daily trains intersect at the interlocking, a critical gateway into St. Louis and a chokepoint on the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Trade Corridor. The project is estimated to reduce Amtrak trip times, reduce freight train delays by more than two hours per day and reduce gate downtime at a nearby grade crossing by two hours per day.