New Lenox

Metra’s 2021 capital plan includes improvements on lines in New Lenox, Mokena

Organization allocated more than $170 million in its 2021 capital program

Metra announced a long list of construction projects for this year, including near stations and along lines in New Lenox and Mokena.

The agency’s 2021 capital program included $171.3 million allocated for construction projects across its system of 11 lines throughout the Chicago area, according to a news release.

“Construction season is always a busy and exciting time at Metra as we see our plans come to fruition and perform the maintenance necessary to maintain safe and efficient operations,” Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in the release. “Lower service levels due to the pandemic will help us move some of these track projects along more quickly and ultimately reduce inconvenience for our customers.”

Among the railroad crossing improvements, Metra plans to replace crossings at Old Hickory Road in New Lenox, on the Rock Island Line, in conjunction with a larger state project at the location.

Metra’s 2021 plan also includes two pilot projects to test rail crossing monitoring systems. The agency said these systems will allow Metra to track equipment performance and better enable proactive maintenance.

As part of the project, Metra will test Siemens Smart Gate technology at five crossings in Mokena on the Rock Island Line, as well as at 14 other crossings along the South Chicago Branch.

The initiatives will enable Metra to evaluate the performance of these technologies in real-world applications and determine the costs and requirements for future capital investments.