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Union Pacific Expects New Bridge in Two Months

Union Pacific reps will appear at a public forum on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Glenbrook North.

Traffic along Shermer Rd. could resume as soon as September, if bridge reconstruction continues as planned.  A Glenview couple was killed when the bridge collapsed last week.

According to Mark Davis, spokesman for Union Pacific, a new bridge “should be built within two months and the road reopen then.”

Union Pacific crews worked during the weekend, clearing remaining coal that spilled in last week's derailment, removing train parts, fixing signals and switches along the rails and resuming freight traffic in both directions. 

According to Northbrook Board President Sandy Frum, village officials were concerned about a water main that ran beneath the bridge so new valves were installed so it could be shut down if a leak springs during the reconstruction process.

Beyond that, Northbrook has had very little influence over the recovery process. 

"The bridge is in Glenview and that’s why they’re the lead agency on everything," Frum said. “The road underneath belongs to IDOT, so it’s not even a Northbrook road.”

But Glenview has its hands tied too.

“The Village of Glenview, under federal law, really doesn’t have a role in the rebuilding of the bridge and the recovery process," Glenview's Village Manager Todd Hileman said. "Neither Glenview nor Northbrook has the ability to regulate [Union Pacific]. They will utilize and they can utilize federal law to preempt our authority.”

The rail company has been cooperating with village officials and together they have organized a public forum, scheduled for Monday, July 17 at 's Sheely Center at 7 p.m., to address residents' questions about the ongoing recovery. 

“Union Pacific officials have agreed to provide access to structural integrity and design elements of the bridge, which is quite frankly the first time I can recall them ever being willing to do so in my tenure in Glenview," Hileman said. "There’s definitely a level of seriousness on the part of Union Pacific and more openness than I’ve seen prior to this.”

During the 36-hour stop a Cook County judge ordered so , Union Pacific directed some freight traffic along rails going through Minnessota to Wisconsin, though no commuter rails were used, a spokesman said. 

The original freight line, that carried coal from Wyoming to Milwaukee through Chicago, is the most direct rail route to the destination, according to Union Pacific's spokesman.

Residents and businesses can file claims relating to the derailment, viaduct collapse and temporary closure of Shermer Rd. by contacting William Hannon, Union Pacific’s claim representative, at (708) 649-5310 or by email to wthannon@up.com.

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