A new bike path and route coming to Hoffman Estates through federal funding will provide more "continuity and connectivity" for Northwest suburban bicyclists.
Mike Hankey, the village's director of transportation, said the village hopes to pick a consultant to do the Shoe Factory Road/I-90 Bicycle and Pedestrian project by the end of this year.
Construction, however, may be delayed until 2015 or 2016 due to the widening of I-90, Hankey said.
The project will include the paving of an existing trail in the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve; the creation of a north-south paved path along the Canadian National railroad tracks that will go under the I-90 and Hoffman Boulevard bridges; and the installation of bike route signs on streets through parts of Prairie Stone business park north to the Prairie Stone Wellness Center. The total length of the project is about 2.4 miles.
"It was a concept that actually goes back a number of years," Hankey said, adding that ideas for the project were mentioned in the village's 2010 bicycle plan and 2007 comprehensive plan. "One thing that was consistent among all those documents was a desire for ways for people to cross the tollway by means other than driving."
Federal funds from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program will cover $676,000 of the estimated $845,000 project, Hankey said. The remaining cost will split by the village, the Hoffman Estates Park District and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, he said.
More than 300 applications were submitted for the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. Hoffman Estates was one of only 54 projects selected to receive funds.
"It seems to me like not just in Hoffman Estates, but in the larger metropolitan area, there is an increase in people walking and biking," Hankey said. "I think there is an increase and a strong interest, among some people at least, for improving connectivity and continuity."
The project will create another way for some people in residential areas to get to work, and it will provide more access to the 59/90 entertainment district, Hankey added.
"It's looking at ways to incrementally build those links in the regional system," he said. "You can't really do everything all at once."