Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bikeway Slow, Steady Progress Is Made on Construction of Cycle Trail

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bikeway Slow, Steady Progress Is Made on Construction of Cycle Trail

Article excerpt

Slow but steady progress continues on 20 miles of bicycle trails that St. Clair County and Belleville officials hope ultimately will attract thousands of cyclists.

Belleville got $1.4 million in grants last fall under the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to pay for up to 80 percent of the planned 8.2-mile East Belleville Bikeway.

Lisa Reime, an assistant city planner in Belleville, said engineering of the bikeway was just starting. "We're two years away from everything being done," she said this week.

William Polka, county engineer for St. Clair County, said the county was still trying to obtain right-of-way for a trail that would run for 11.8 miles along the Metro East Sanitary District's levees and canal banks.

"The biggest problem we have is that we have a lot of railroad crossings" along the planned levee trail, Polka said. He said he was waiting to hear what federal and state regulations would have to be satisfied for the levee bike trail to cross railroad tracks.

Even so, he said he hoped a trail construction contract could be let by next summer.

Designers plan to announce a specific route for the East Belleville Bikeway in the next two to three months, Reime said.

The East Belleville Bikeway is planned roughly to be divided into three sections:

The first is to follow the Richland Creek Greenway now under development from North End Park at Belleville's boundary line with Swansea to South End Park on the south, which would connect a proposed MetroLink station to downtown Belleville via the bike trail.

A second section will start at North End Park and run southeast near the former CSX Railroad tracks to Illinois Route 177.

The third section will stretch north and south along Greenmount Road and Little Oak Lane, connecting Belleville Area College and a proposed new YMCA complex to a proposed MetroLink stop near Shiloh Road. …

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