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updated: 9/26/2012 11:32 PM

Elgin OKs plan for northeast side bike path

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Elgin will partner with the Illinois Department of Transportation to use federal dollars to cover most of the cost of a bike path on the city's northeast side.

Councilman John Prigge was the only city council member to vote against the proposal at Wednesday night's meeting; it will cost the city $122,346 by the time the project is complete. The discussion Wednesday was about whether to budget $85,000 for phase two engineering services, of which IDOT will reimburse 80 percent.

"I'm going to err on the side of caution and judge this as more of a want instead of a need," Prigge said.

He would have preferred deferring the project to a better economic time, he added, but understood that was not possible because of the terms of the grant. The total project was expected to cost Elgin $91,540, but a change of plans during the first phase of engineering will require construction of a bike path along Congdon Avenue -- a more expensive option than on-street bike lanes.

City Manager Sean Stegall, responding to a question from Councilwoman Anna Moeller, said there's no way to predict whether the cost of the project would decrease if it were delayed to a later date.

"A lot of it depends on the bid environment," Stegall said. "It would be more likely than not that it would increase, given the marginally improving economy."

The second phase of engineering work is expected to begin in February. Construction of the bike route could start in October 2013 and be finished the following spring, but those dates are subject to change, according to management analyst Aaron Cosentino.

The bike route starts on Douglas Avenue at Kimball Street and runs along Slade Avenue to Prospect Boulevard and east on Congdon Avenue to an existing Cook County trail.

Elgin's bikeway master plan includes three other bike routes in the city, one of which is planned to go from the National Street Metra Station to the far southwest side. Planning for grant funding also is under way for that longer, more complicated route.

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