The Village of Glenview

Union Pacific Railroad/Shermer Road

​A Union Pacific freight train hauling coal from Wyoming to Wisconsin derailed Wednesday afternoon, July 4, 2012, on a viaduct over Shermer Road, between Willow Road and Holste Road in Glenview. The viaduct subsequently collapsed. Cleanup crews on Thursday morning, July 5, 2012, discovered a car buried beneath the rubble. The driver, Burt Lindner, and the passenger, his wife, Zorine, both of Glenview, were killed.

On this page will be posted updates, information and schedules regarding construction of the replacement bridge. The timeline starts at the bottom, with most recent information at the top.


July 3, 2014 -- Traffic can once again traverse Shermer Road between Willow Road and West Lake Avenue with the reopening this morning of the roadway underneath the new railroad viaduct. Work to restore the roadway and underground infrastructure was completed ahead of the mandated September 30 opening date. Read more here.


Striping the street and inserting reflectors were the last tasks before reopening the roadway.

June 2, 2014 -- The curb and concrete roadway base are finished on Shermer Road underneath the new railroad bridge, which replaced the one that collapsed following a freight train derailment in July 2012. 

North side of the bridge looking south                        North side of the bridge, looking north


 A portion of the southbound lane under the bridge, however, is still unfinished, awaiting work by Nicor crews to lower a 6-inch, high-pressure gas main by two feet. After that is completed, work can resume to lay the asphalt binder and surface courses, paint pavement markings, install signage and restore parkway landscaping.

Under order of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the road must be open no later than September 14, 2014. The current goal of the villages of Glenview and Northbrook, however, is to have the road reopened by the end of June.


March 1, 2014 -- Representatives of the Villages of Glenview and Northbrook, Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad have assessed the condition of the portion of Shermer Road impacted by the collapse of the railroad bridge above it. A series of inspections in January revealed not only sections of the pavement were damaged but also four portions of the storm sewers running underneath the road. Water lines and sanitary lines in the vicinity were not damaged.

Plans have now been formulated for undertaking the repairs, including replacing the storm sewer lines; demolishing some road areas; reconstructing the road base, including a concrete layer in some areas; and laying an asphalt surface. IDOT, which has jurisdiction over that section of Shermer Road, has expedited its review of the repair plans.

The contractor that built the new viaduct for Union Pacific has been retained for the road and pipe line repairs, which will expedite the work.


November 6, 2013 -- Union Pacific Railroad crews successfully "rolled in" the new replacement bridge.

                     Before                                                                          After



October 25, 2013 -- The Village has been informed that Union Pacific Railroad is planning weekend and night work from Saturday morning, November 2, through Monday evening, November 4, to roll into place the new bridge components. The work will require crews to work around the clock for these three days. While no freight train traffic will be traveling the rail lines during this period, work trains will be delivering project materials. This work will entail flood lights during the evening and regular construction noise. Union Pacific anticipates the work train traffic will sound whistles as required by federal regulations. Additionally, flaggers will be on site to direct traffic along the south side access road while the roll-in is in progress.

Union Pacific has the authority to have crews work extended hours, and throughout the project has cooperated with the villages of Glenview and Northbrook to minimize work outside of the published construction hours, especially during overnight sleeping hours. The work required from November 2-4, however, is of a magnitude that will require special consideration to get it done within the set time period so that this highly disruptive work is done as quickly as possible to minimize impacts on adjacent residences and ensure Union Pacific can limit the time trains must be diverted within its complicated nationwide operations.
The construction of the new replacement bridge started in July 2013, and the bridge will be completed by December 31, 2013, under an Illinois Commerce Commission order.
Still be to be determined is the condition of Shermer Road underneath the crushed rock embankment, which will be removed after the new bridge is in use. Since asphalt plants shut down during the winter, it may not be possible to begin repairs to the roadway and, if necessary, underground utilities until next spring. The villages of Glenview and Northbrook will make every effort to get the road in usable shape as soon as possible. Under order of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the road must be open no later than September 30, 2014.


September 6, 2013 -- The Village has been informed that UP construction crews will be completing additional pile driving for the foundation building efforts. Piles are scheduled to be driven from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, September 6; Saturday, September 7; and Sunday, September 8. During this time, increased noise is anticipated.
August 20, 2013 -- Union Pacific crews working to replace the viaduct that collapsed in July 2012 following a freight train derailment are scheduled to work tonight, August 20; Saturday night, August 24; and Tuesday night, August 27. While the work -- primarily concrete pouring -- is not expected to be loud, passing trains will be required to sound their horns. The work can go as long as 2 a.m. but Union Pacific estimates crews will finish around midnight each of the nights.

Union Pacific has the authority to work extended hours, but is cooperating with the villages of Glenview and Northbrook to minimize work outside of the published construction hours, especially during overnight sleeping hours.

The construction of the new replacement bridge started in July 2013, and the bridge will be completed by December 31, 2013, under an Illinois Commerce Commission order. The villages of Glenview and Northbrook will work with Union Pacific to reopen Shermer Road to through traffic as soon as possible after the new bridge is in place, and complete repairs as weather permits. Shermer Road must be reopened to through traffic by September 30, 2014.

If trains sound whistles outside of the three nights posted above, you can contact Union Pacific Railroad's Crisis Call Center at (888) 877-7267. Please make a note of the date and time of the incident.
July 19, 2013 -- The Federal Railroad Administration has issued its Accident Investigation Report of the July 4, 2012 derailment and bridge collapse incident.

Questions and concerns can be forward to Michael Long, Region 4 Administrator, at or (312) 353-6203.
July 8, 2013 -- Union Pacific Railroad has selected a contractor, Illinois Constructors Corporation, to construct the new railroad bridge across Shermer Road to replace the structure that collapsed a year ago. The contractor is on site and preparing for the work.

The tentative schedule for the project is:

  • July through November 2013 -- foundation and falsework construction. Falsework is temporary construction to support arches and similar structures while mortar or concrete is setting or the steel is being joined, which will allow the span to be "rolled" into place.
  • Mid to late September 2013 -- the bridge span arrives on site
  • Early December 2013 -- span is installed

Once construction gets started, the contractor intends to use right of way on both sides of the bridge for equipment staging. The contractor will be responsible for keeping some area clear to allow for adequate storm water drainage and operating pumps currently on site to handle storm water that ponds on the north side of the embankment.
May 17, 2013 -- A new railroad bridge to replace the viaduct could be in place by the end of the this year, under an expedited schedule released recently by Union Pacific Railroad.

While businesses have remained open along Shermer Road between West Lake Avenue and Willow Road, through traffic remains blocked at the site of the collapse. Union Pacific intends to select a contractor at the end of May, with foundation and other construction taking place at the site between July and November. At the same time, work off site will continue on constructing the 149-foot-long steel span. The span could be installed by early December.

Still to be determined is the condition of Shermer Road underneath the crushed rocks that have served as a temporary rail bed embankment for freight train traffic.

The Villages of Glenview and Northbrook were originally notified that the permanent replacement viaduct would likely take until late 2014 to complete. By fast-tracking the state permitting process and material procurement, Union Pacific has been able to shorten the schedule.
October 12, 2012 -- Now that a Memo of Understanding between the Villages of Glenview and Northbrook, Union Pacific Railroad and the Illinois Department of Transportation has been finalized, work has begun on a few temporary measures aimed at alleviating the impact of the extended through-closure of Shermer Road while the railroad bridge is being replaced with a wider, safer viaduct.

The temporary bridge put in place after the July 4 train derailment and bridge collapse blocks Shermer Road south of Willow Road. Businesses north and south of the bridge site are open.

A temporary traffic signal is being installed at West Lake Avenue and Shermer Road. This signal will help traffic flow until a temporary connection from Shermer Road to Patriot Boulevard via Old Willow Road is constructed, which is estimated to be completed by the end of November. The temporary connection will be removed once a new bridge is constructed, which is currently estimated to take 18 to 24 months. View these projects on this map.
August 24, 2012 -- The Glenview and Northbrook Village Boards of Trustees have scheduled a joint meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 28, to review a Memorandum of Understanding with Union Pacific Railroad and the Illinois Department of Transportation for a permanent bridge over Shermer Road to replace the viaduct that collapsed July 4. (UPDATE: August 28, 2012 -- Both boards passed resolutions approving the Memorandum of Understanding subject to final Village Attorney review and approval. The meeting can be viewed here.)

Key terms of the agreement up for discussion:

  • Union Pacific will fund and build an approximately 149-foot-long bridge with a 57-foot clear span to provide for three 12-feet-wide traffic lanes, a 10-foot-wide bike path, a 7-foot-wide bike path and four feet of curbing, estimated to cost $10 million.
  • Union Pacific will fund construction of a temporary connection to Patriot Boulevard via Old Willow Road to facilitate traffic from businesses south of the closed bridge to detour to Willow Road, at a cost of up to $275,000.
  • Union Pacific will fund construction of a temporary traffic control signal at West Lake Avenue and Shermer Road to improve traffic flow, at a cost of up to $57,000.
  • Glenview, Northbrook and the Illinois Department of Transportation will be responsible for funding and building the roadway improvements at a future point in time that will be compliant with IDOT’s Complete Streets guidelines.

Details can be found here.
August 24, 2012 -- Beginning today, freight operations will increase the speed on the Milwaukee Subdivision at Shermer Road from 10 mph to 25 mph, according to Adrian  Guerrero, director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad.
The Federal Railroad Administration completed an inspection this week at the site, and approved returning the track speed to its original 50 mph. Union Pacific intends to gradually increase the speed up to the approved level.
Here's the Federal Railroad Administration's August 21, 2012 inspection report.
July 17, 2012 -- Representatives of Union Pacific Railroad (UP) discussed the circumstances surrounding the July 4, 2012 freight train derailment and viaduct collapse on Shermer Road at a community meeting Monday, July 16, 2012, at the request of Glenview and Northbrook village officials.

More than two dozen Glenview and Northbrook residents asked questions about the July 4 accident, its relationship to earlier derailments near the same site, overall safety of the track and other railroad bridges through Glenview and Northbrook, and the necessity for freight trains to sound their horns overnight as they traverse the repair site.

Here’s some of the information UP related:

The July 4 derailment was due to an overheated track expanding and buckling. It was described as a heat-related anomaly to the track that developed underneath the train as it approached the bridge from the south. A consulting engineering firm hired by UP determined there was no structural problem with the bridge. It was simply downstream from where the derailment occurred, which forced the rail cars to jackknife on the bridge, leading to its collapse.

Inspectors traverse the rail corridor every day during hot weather looking for kinks in the rail. On July 4, a person responsible for maintaining the signal system noticed "something that didn’t look exactly right” and called an expert to have a second look. "We don't believe what he saw was severe enough to cause him to do anything more than he did," said David Connell, UP's vice president of engineering. The expert arrived at about the same time the accident occurred.
Having trains travel at slower speeds on hot days would not have prevented the bridge collapse.

The temporary embankment of crushed concrete built across Shermer Road to support the track so trains can continue to run is inspected weekly. Soil borings taken Friday, July 13, indicate there is a strong base below it.

The November 1, 2009 derailment that occurred a couple hundred feet north of the Shermer Road viaduct on Union Pacific track involved a train operated by another company. A mechanical failure caused it to derail as a train was passing in the opposite direction.

Work on the Shermer Road bridge that closed the roadway from June 27 to October 5, 2011 had been planned prior to the 2009 derailment to address concrete abutment concerns and replace beams that sit on top of the concrete piers.

Although no crews have been working overnight at the repair site since Saturday, July 7, residents reported passing trains have been sounding their horns throughout the night. UP asked that residents note the time the train passed and report the whistle blowing by calling (888) 877-7267.
July 10, 2012 -- At the request of Glenview and Northbrook officials, representatives of Union Pacific Railroad have agreed to appear at a community meeting to explain the circumstances of the July 4 derailment and viaduct collapse on Shermer Road that killed two Glenview residents. The UP officials can also discuss the safety history of the viaduct, the site of two prior derailments; information and schedules regarding construction of the replacement viaduct; and the condition of the track and other rail bridges in Glenview.

The meeting has been scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, July 16, at Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, in the Sheely Center for the Performing Arts.

Here is the detour map for motorists while Shermer Road is blocked. UP officials have estimated that it will take several months to design, procure and install a new, permanent viaduct. In the meantime, a temporary rail bed embankment constructed by UP is facilitating freight train traffic. At the request of Glenview and Northbrook officials, a Federal Railroad Administration inspector on Friday, July 6, 2012, examined the structure and confirmed the rail was safe to operate with temporary speed restrictions of 10 miles per hour.

To insure worker safety, the UP has been requiring approaching trains to blow their whistles while workers restore bridge, track and signal service. The horns will be sounded until that work is completed. (Horn blowing guidelines can be found here.)

Residents and businesses can file claims relating to the derailment, viaduct collapse and temporary closure of Shermer Road between Holste Road and Willow Road by contacting Jeff Alaniz, UP’s claim representative, at (312) 777-2028 or by email to

Union Pacific Inspection Reports


Contact information

Union Pacific Railroad

  • Crisis Call Center -- (888) 877-7267
  • David Connell, VP Engineering
    (402) 544-3237
  • Joseph Bateman, VP Public Affairs-Northern Region
    (402) 544-3878
  • Wesley Lujan, Assistant VP Public Affairs
    (312) 777-2002
  • Adrian Guerrero, Project Manager
    (312) 777-2037
  • David Giandinoto, General Superintendent Transportation, Chicago Service Unit
    (708) 649-5110
  • Brenda Severinsen, Claims Manager
    (312) 777-2029

Federal Railroad Administration

Illinois Commerce Commission

Illinois Department of Transportation