Since the July 4 train derailment that killed a Glenview couple, Northbrook and Glenview officials have seen unprecedented transparency from Union Pacific as they design a new bridge over Shermer Road.
"UP is basically giving us options for what kind of a bridge would be replaced their, but the villages are going to have no direct involvement in terms of the engineering of the bridge," said Todd Hileman, Glenview's village manager. "What we’re being asked to do is provide input on what type of bridge and the length of the bridge that we want in there.”
As freight keeps moving over a temporary, stone bridge at the Northbrook-Glenview border, UP has been providing village officials with inspection reports in the area, which the villages have published online.
"With everything that’s going on we have been pushing them because before we didn’t really receive information," said Kendal Maltas, a management analyst in Northbrook's village manager's office. Maltas has been part of a team working closely with Union Pacific to communicate the villages' needs as the rail company rebuilds the structure.
"The biggest concern for the village is safety," she said. "It could look similar, it could look different, and that’s what’s being worked on now."
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According to a Chicago Sun-Times article, U.S. Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) visited the derailment site over the weekend and said Congress has little authority over UP, but he has asked the company to notify Northbrook and Glenview officials if something unusual is observed in the tracks running through the villages.
“Railroads generally aren’t always that simple to work with," said Philip Kiraly, Northbrook's assistant village manager. "They have certainly been very cooperative since this has all started. I’m hopeful that this creates a new bridge of communication between us and them.”
The villages and UP officials have yet to decide on a bridge design, and there is still no official timetable for bridge construction.
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