Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. has filed a federal application for a proposed $2.8 billion rail project to bypass the congested Chicago area. In a public filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, GLBT says the new route would include 244 miles of main line track and 17 miles of branch lines.

The group says the price tag is an estimation and would cover costs including completing construction, securing right of way and STB authority, as well as an environmental impact study. Plans call for the line to connect with the City of Rochelle Railroad in Illinois and the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad in the northwest Indiana town of Kingsbury. The proposed, mostly double-line route would cross through Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

GLBT founder Frank Patton said in a statement:

This is a historic day for Great Lakes Basin Transportation to file its formal application to construct the Great Lakes Basin Railroad. Our application explains the need for this vital project to the STB and the public. The GLBR is the largest single freight railroad project proposed for the Chicago region in over a century. We look forward to working with the STB and other interested parties to move this project forward.

The GLBT says it does not anticipate lining up the full scope of financial commitments until STB approval. An anticipated schedule for the work is also slated for a later date.

You can connect to the full public filing by clicking here.