JOLIET – The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Board of Commissioners on Thursday awarded an engineering contract to begin planning trail improvements along Black Road.
The $100,556 contract goes to Christopher B. Burke Engineering of Woodridge. The Black Road Trail project in Joliet includes the design and construction of two trail segments on the south side of Black Road connecting the DuPage River and Rock Run Greenway trails.
Once constructed, the crossing will provide safe passage over Interstate 55 near Black Road, said Marcy DeMauro, executive director for the district. That segment of the trail is in Joliet.
“This was definitely needed,” DeMauro said. “When you bike across, you’re basically putting your life in your own hands.”
In April the district was awarded a $963,000 state grant for the project, providing an 80 percent match to local funds. Part of those funds will help pay for the phase one study.
The district plans to apply for a second state grant worth $1.1 million to build a 260-foot bridge over the DuPage River and a new trail connection on the south side of Black Road.
For the $100,000 project, the district will provide a $20,000 local match, according to a district memo.
The money will come from license and mitigation fees received from the Illinois Department of Transportation because of construction work on Interstate 80 that had an impact on forest preserves.
If the second grant is approved, the two projects – a pedestrian bridge over I-55 and another over the DuPage River – would be built simultaneously. Construction wouldn’t begin until late 2016 or early 2017.
Countywide bikeway plan
On Thursday, the district’s board of commissioners also approved a resolution allowing the district to apply for a grant through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning for a countywide bikeway plan.
The bikeway plan would serve as a “companion document” to CMAP’s regional comprehensive GO TO 2040 plan, DeMauro said.
Will County is the only county in CMAP’s seven-county region without an established detailed bikeway plan, she said.
“It’s not only about recreation,” DeMauro said. “[The plan] is about providing an alternative means of transportation in the county.”