Key links are nearing completion or are being planned to provide more extensive connections for walking and biking trails in Lake County.
The Lake County Forest Preserve District recently announced it received a $1.9 million state grant for the bike underpass at Rollins Road between Route 45 and Drury Lane.
The tunnel would connect the Rollins Savanna and Fourth Lake Forest preserves and extend the Millennium Trail in the north-central part of the county. Construction will begin this spring, with completion in 2014.
"It's a key link," said Mike Fenelon, director of planning, conservation and development for the forest district. "It will hook up a large area."
There are four miles of trails in Rollins Savanna, and trail users can also head west on the Millennium Trail to Hook Drive in Round Lake Beach and south in Grayslake. Work on the intersection of Route 83 and Rollins also will include a trail section allowing users to access the system in and around Hainesville, Fenelon said.
In related trail news, a tunnel on Grand Avenue south of the district's operations center in Lindenhurst is nearing completion. This will connect the system in place between Rollins Road and Grand Avenue to the trail north of the operations center to McDonald Woods, Fenelon said.
When the Rollins tunnel is complete, trails will connect the Rollins Savanna, Fourth Lake, Bonner Farm and McDonald Woods forest preserves to neighboring communities and other destinations. They include the Lindenhurst Park District, Grayslake North High School, College of Lake County, Metra stations and residential and business districts.
The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant provides funding for projects that support alternative modes of transportation. The Rollins Road tunnel will be the third funded for the Lake County Forest Preserve trail system, Fenelon said.