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SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Transportation will receive $5,083,719 in federal funding to increase speeds and operational flexibility for passenger and freight rail services in Madison County, according to a news release from U.S. Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

The funding is for the Lenox Interlocking Reconfiguration Project and comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program.

“Dozens of freight trains used the old Lenox Interlocking System each day, slowing traffic and causing significant delays for rail and highway users,” Duckworth said. “This critical funding will help our state modernize the interlocking and relieve this bottleneck to improve reliability and bring local jobs to Madison County, while also updating our regional and national transportation systems.”

According to the release, IDOT will use these funds to reconfigure the Lenox Interlocking System in Mitchell, which is a critical gateway into St. Louis and a chokepoint on the Canada-US-Mexico trade corridor where four rail lines carrying 46 daily trains intersect.

The release said the project is estimated to reduce Amtrak trip times and freight train delays by more than two hours per day, which would also reduce gate downtime at a nearby grade crossing by two hours per day.

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