Faced with a legal assault from the Canadian Pacific Railroad about the location of its western bypass road around O'Hare International Airport, the Illinois tollway is seeking help to shore up its defenses.
The railroad in 2015 sued the tollway in federal court, claiming it was violating laws protecting interstate commerce by trying to condemn a portion of a Canadian Pacific train yard in Bensenville for the bypass.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit this spring. The judge denied a motion to reconsider this week.
Recently, the tollway appealed to state and federal lawmakers to write in support of the bypass, even providing suggested language stating, according to a copy provided to the Daily Herald Friday, that the "importance of the project to ... the Chicago region, and the entire state of Illinois is unsurpassed. Unraveling a project that has been years in the making and provides such tremendous travel and economic benefits is unacceptable."
Both sides refused to comment on the issue.
The bypass is part of a $3.4 billion project that includes extending the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway/Route 390 east to the airport. The bypass would meet Route 390 in the center, connect with I-90 in Des Plaines and the Tri-State Tollway by Franklin Park, near the rail yard.
The tollway stated in court documents that negotiations with Canadian Pacific about the location of the bypass were proceeding normally until November 2015, when the railroad terminated discussions and filed the lawsuit.
Tollway attorneys said the agency had not initiated any condemnation proceedings and not yet settled on the exact location of the bypass where it would connect with the Tri-State.