Metra launches 2024 construction program

Publication Date
Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Metra and its railroad and municipal partners today announced a comprehensive list of construction projects planned for 2024.

In addition to major projects to replace aging bridges on the UP North Line, track, electrical and signal upgrades on the Metra Electric and major tie replacement projects on four lines, the 2024 construction program also includes numerous smaller infrastructure improvements distributed across Metra’s 11 lines. Together, these projects will ensure Metra customers continue to enjoy safe and reliable service. Construction work is already underway and will continue through the fall, weather permitting.

"We plan to take full advantage of the construction season to address projects big and small across the railroad,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Thanks to our leaders in Washington and Springfield, Metra has received significant financial support in recent years to help us begin to address a backlog of critical capital projects that will benefit our riders for years to come.”

Work is being performed by Metra’s in-house crews, employees of Metra’s freight partners as well as private contractors. Metra is also contributing funds for station repairs and upgrades that will be performed by a municipality or its contractors.

In Metra’s 2024 capital program, $332.4 million has been allocated for construction projects. This includes $81.6 million for station and parking improvements, $22 million for track maintenance, $140.7 million for bridge projects, $6.4 million for rail crossing replacements and $66.2 million for signal electrical and communications maintenance and upgrades. Funding for some of the projects included in this release was allocated in prior years’ capital programs or came from outside sources, including municipalities and Metra’s freight railroad partners.

Timing of the projects listed below may change and, when warranted, projects may be added to or removed from this list. A complete list of planned projects can be found here. A Spanish language version of the release can be found here.


Improvements are planned for 35 of Metra’s 242 stations this year. Along the Metra Electric Line, we are continuing a multiyear effort to rebuild stations and improve accessibility with major projects either already underway or slated to begin at 79th, 87th, 95th, 103rd and 147th streets as well as Homewood and Harvey.

Platform replacements are scheduled at Wood Dale on the Milwaukee West Line, Vermont Street on the Rock Island Line, Cary and Crystal Lake on the UP Northwest Line and Kedzie on the UP West Line. Work will also continue on the replacement of the platforms and station facilities at Grayland on the Milwaukee District North Line.  The new Peterson/Ridge Station on the UP North Line will open this spring and work will continue at the new Auburn Park Station on the Rock Island Line. The stations at 107th and 115th Street stations on the Rock Island Line’s Beverly Branch and LaGrange Road on the BNSF Line are scheduled for rehab projects, and new bike racks will be installed at 10 stations across the Metra system. Stations along the Blue Island Branch of the Metra Electric Line will be repainted.


Metra and its railroad partners plan to replace approximately 129,000 railroad ties this year. On the Rock Island Line, workers are about to begin replacing 32,000 ties between Gresham and Mokena. About 20,000 ties will be replaced later this summer between 179th Street in Orland Park and Manhattan on the SouthWest Service. The UP North Line will have 40,000 ties replaced between Chicago and Highland Park, and 37,000 ties will be replaced between Chicago and Des Plaines on the UP Northwest Line.

Metra forces will also be preparing for the installation of a fourth track on the Metra Electric Line to accommodate the expansion of NICTD’s South Shore Line service, and for work on the project to connect the Milwaukee West Line to the Union Pacific Belvidere subdivision in preparation for the IDOT-funded extension to Rockford. Work continues on the final phase of UP West third main project, which will remove a critical bottleneck between West Chicago and Geneva by adding a third track. Metra will also be replacing worn rail on curves, stations and at various locations across the system.


Metra and its railroad partners plan to make improvements to 35 road crossings systemwide in 2024.

On the Rock Island Line four crossings will be replaced, including Cedar Road in New Lenox and Central Avenue, Laflin and 100th streets in Chicago. On the SouthWest Service, crossings will be replaced at 153rd Street in Orland Park and Laraway Road in New Lenox.  The rail crossings at Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville, Route 134 in Round Lake, and Hazel Street in Deerfield will be replaced on the Milwaukee District North Line. On the Milwaukee District West Line, crossings will be replaced at Gifford Road in Elgin, Western Avenue in Bartlett, and Park Street in Roselle. Five crossings on the Metra Electric Line at Dante Avenue/71st Street, 77th Street, Honore Street, 126th Street/Wood Street and Michigan Avenue will be replaced.

Five crossings on the BNSF Line will be replaced including Cowley Road and Harlem Avenue in Riverside, Lincoln and Monroe streets in Hinsdale and Ridgeland Avenue in Berwyn. Pedestrian gates will also be upgraded at Garfield Avenue and Washington and Lincoln streets in Hinsdale, as well as at Grand and Lawn avenues in Western Springs.

On the Union Pacific lines, 13 crossings will be replaced. This includes the crossings at Lake and Wilmette avenues in Wilmette, Lincoln Avenue in Highland Park, Old Elm Road in Ft. Sheridan, Martin Luther King Drive in North Chicago, and Shiloh Boulevard in Zion on the UP North Line. Crossings on the UP Northwest Line slated for replacement this year are Pearson Street in Des Plaines, Main Street in Cary, and Lillian Street in McHenry. The UP West Line is scheduled for crossing replacements at 1st Avenue in Maywood, Main Street in Glen Ellyn, Western Avenue in Geneva, and Il Route 47 in Elburn.


A major project to rebuild 11 120-year-old bridges between Fullerton and Addison on the UP North Line is expected to get underway later this year. The project will also replace 4 miles of track structure and 1.75 miles of retaining walls. The $337 million project received a $117 million federal Bi-partisan Infrastructure Law’s Mega Grant Program.  

Metra will also be working through the final stages of construction of a new bridge over Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago adjacent to the Grayland Station on the Milwaukee District North Line. Aging bridges will also be replaced at Ingleside on the Milwaukee District North Line and at Stony Creek in Chicago Ridge on the SouthWest Service. The Hickory Creek Bridge on the Rock Island Line in Joliet will undergo rehab.


Metra’s Signal Department is undertaking several major projects in 2024. One of its largest projects will be the replacement of the 123-year-old 16th Street Tower on the Rock Island Line. Signal will also be working at various locations on the Metra Electric Line to upgrade infrastructure and install new control points in preparation for the NICTD South Shore expansion project. On the Milwaukee District, the department will be starting a project to upgrade the signal systems between Canal Street and the A-2 interlocking in Chicago and completing work on a multiyear project to upgrade signals at Lake Forest on the Milwaukee District North Line.

In the past few years, Metra has been working to upgrade technology at its roadway crossings, installing SMART crossing technology that allows continual remote monitoring of crossing devices to identify performance issues and enable proactive maintenance. In 2024, Metra is planning SMART crossing upgrades at 112th/115th streets on the Rock Island Line, seven locations on the Milwaukee District North Line and 14 locations on the Metra Electric Line South Chicago Branch. As funding becomes available, Metra plans to deploy this technology throughout its system.

Throughout 2024, Metra will continue the installation of ticket vending machines at stations across its system as well as a new electronic signage on platforms.

On the Metra Electric Line, the Electrical Department will be working on the Jackson, Matteson and Homewood substations, renewing power feed infrastructure at various locations between 79th and 147th streets, renewing AC distribution infrastructure between Flossmoor and University Park and making infrastructure improvements to support the expansion of NICTD’s South Shore Line service.

Most work will be performed during off-peak hours and on weekends. Metra will issue construction schedules for its trains during some of these projects. Construction schedules are issued when workers need to be on or very near the tracks, requiring trains to reduce speed or stop before proceeding through the construction zone. These schedules, in general, can add 10 to 15 minutes to the length of a trip. When construction schedules are in place, the modified schedules are reflected in Metra’s web-based tracker found at The construction schedules will be posted on our website at