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Ottawa to seek cure for rail traffic delays

Southbound traffic on Columbus Street in Ottawa backs up waiting for an Illinois Railnet train to pass.
Southbound traffic on Columbus Street in Ottawa backs up waiting for an Illinois Railnet train to pass.

Can anything be done to eliminate traffic backups on Ottawa’s North Side caused by Illinois Railnet trains?

The Ottawa City Council is seeking a $75,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation to find out.

“I think everybody here is familiar with what some people call the Ottawa pause,” City Engineer Dave Noble said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “The trains stop everything on Routes 23 and Champlain Street and there you sit.”

Noble said solutions might include anything from relocating the nearby rail switching yard to installing viaducts.

“It’s an attempt to solve the problem,” Noble said.

The council plans to hire the engineering firm of Hanson Professional Services to complete the application at a cost of $1,700. The council will vote on that contract at an upcoming meeting.

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