Gurnee to pay to keep bike path on proposed Stearns School Road bridge replacement

  • The bike path at Stearns School Road in Gurnee, pictured here during renovations in 2005, will be demolished along with the bridge as soon as next year. But a new bike path will come with the new bridge.

    The bike path at Stearns School Road in Gurnee, pictured here during renovations in 2005, will be demolished along with the bridge as soon as next year. But a new bike path will come with the new bridge. Daily Herald file photo, 2005

  • The project to widen I-94 could lead to the demolition of the Stearns School Road bridge in Gurnee as soon as next year.

    The project to widen I-94 could lead to the demolition of the Stearns School Road bridge in Gurnee as soon as next year. Daily Herald file photo, 2008

 
 
Updated 7/18/2019 7:23 PM

The Tollway Authority plans to replace the Stearns School Road bridge as soon as next year to accommodate additional traffic lanes on I-94, and the Gurnee village board agreed this week to chip in to ensure the new bridge also accommodates bikers and walkers.

At the village board meeting Monday, officials discussed three options from the tollway for bicyclists and pedestrians.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Board members indicated they preferred a plan that would keep a bike path on the north side of Stearns School Road as well as add a 6-foot-wide sidewalk to the south side of the bridge, one of the few to connect the east and west sides of Gurnee.

The narrower sidewalk would not require a retaining wall as the bike path would, and it will make the bridge more accessible for residents living in the nearby Westgate subdivision, said Jack Linehan, the assistant to the village manager.

"It would be an enhancement for the village," Linehan said.

The tollway estimates the village's preferred choice would cost Gurnee $950,000 while the county would pay $500,000 and the state would pay $700,000, according to village documents. The county would cover 80% of the cost of the new sidewalk.

Another option, which wouldn't include a new pedestrian sidewalk on the south side of the bridge, is estimated to cost the village $825,000 and the state $370,000. That option wouldn't require Lake County to contribute anything.

The state's plan to replace the bridge over I-94 also calls for it to support three lanes of vehicle traffic, more than the current two-lane road. According to village documents, the new bridge's structure would be able to support up to five lanes of vehicle traffic in the future.

In 2001, the bridge became the first in the village to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians when a bike lane was added to the north side of the roadway.

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