The State of Illinois has ensured that the Chicago to St. Louis corridor remains at the forefront of passenger rail development.
In September 2010, one of the first construction projects in the national High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program began along the Chicago to St. Louis route to prepare it for future train operations at up to 110 miles per hour.
On April 1, 2011, the second round of construction began to upgrade approximately 96 miles of existing track from Elkhart to Dwight. An additional 18 miles were also constructed between St Louis and Lenox. Construction was completed August 23rd.
Construction work for 2012 began in April. Improvements in preparation for higher speed travel were concentrated between Wann and Godfrey and from Pontiac to Joliet. Work included building new sidings and second track, upgrades to bridges and culverts, drainage improvements, installation and upgrades to signal and wayside equipment and continued crossing and approach improvements. Work was completed in August.
In 2014, work continued throughout the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor, including siding reconstructions, grade crossing improvements, fencing installation, utilities and signal improvements, and bridge construction/modifications.
In the upcoming year, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will continue to work to have infrastructure improvements in place to support speeds of up to 110 mph on nearly 75% of the Chicago-St. Louis corridor by the end of 2015.