Metro and the St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) today launched a $2.1 million project to halt erosion and stabilize eroding soil along 4.5 miles of MetroLink tracks between Fairview Heights and Swansea, Illinois.
At a ground-breaking today at one of the work sites, Metro Senior Vice President Chris Poehler called the work “a perfect example” of the projects envisioned by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal economic stimulus act that financed the project along with funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the state of Illinois and the SCCTD.
“It does just what ARRA is designed to do – put people to work and improve this country’s infrastructure,” Poehler said. “This project is creating a lot of jobs and moving a lot of dirt.”
As MetroLink trains passed regularly on the tracks behind him, Poehler said the work will protect a $300 million public asset – the MetroLink line through St. Clair County.
Taulby Roach of the SCCTD credited the partnership between federal, state and local government with financing the project, creating jobs, and protecting the vital MetroLink line that provides a connection between the people of St. Clair County and the rest of the St. Louis region.
Illinois State Representatives Jay Hoffman of Collinsville and Tom Holbrook of Belleville, as well as Robert Stephan, an aide to U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello of Belleville, noted that the project provides valuable maintenance for MetroLink before the need becomes severe and causes interruptions in service. They also cited the cooperative venture between Metro, SCCTD, local, state and federal government in providing the financing and executing the project.
The project involves excavating, repairing, and stabilizing 15 sites adjacent to the MetroLink tracks and near retaining walls along 4.5 miles of the light-rail system’s tracks where storm water, mostly from a drainage creek, has eroded soil. Eroded areas will be excavated and armored with stabilization techniques such as retaining walls, riprap rock, and grass seeding. No changes in service or schedules will be required.
The contractor is the Kilian Corp. of Mascoutah, IL. The project is expected to be completed in December.