Trail links thousands of Gurnee residents to Rollins Savanna

  • This trail connects the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve with the local trail in Gurnee at Route 45 and Dada Drive.

    This trail connects the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve with the local trail in Gurnee at Route 45 and Dada Drive. Courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserve District

  • A new trail link provides connects thousands of Gurnee residents to the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve and beyond.

    A new trail link provides connects thousands of Gurnee residents to the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve and beyond. Courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserve District

 
 
Updated 6/23/2020 4:09 PM

After years in the making, a short but important trail connection has opened that links thousands of Gurnee residents with the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve and beyond.

At 0.4 mile, the crushed gravel trail extends from the northeast part of the 1,253-acre Rollins Savanna to Route 45 and Dada Drive and east to a village trail on Knowles Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The $393,791 project also features modification of the traffic signal on busy Route 45, ADA-compliant concrete ramps and pedestrian crosswalk markings.

Rollins Savanna has 5.5 miles of trails with boardwalks and bridges that wind through a variety of landscapes and a connection to the regional Millennium Trail & Greenway.

The village path leads to an existing trail along the ComEd right of way, which connects most of Gurnee west of Hunt Club Road.

"I think the idea came up about five or six years ago," said Randy Seebach, director of planning and land preservation for the Lake County Forest Preserve District.

"Every year, we'd get several requests to connect the Gurnee bike path to Rollins Savanna and the Millennium Trail," he said.

The Millennium Trail & Greenway is about three-quarters complete and eventually will stretch 41 miles through central, western and northern Lake County.

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The forest district long has owned the property, a former home site, on which the connection was built and could have brought the trail to Route 45, Seebach said. But there was no bike path on the east side to connect with the village trail along the power lines.

That changed by summer 2018 when the village installed an asphalt path from the power lines to Dada Drive and widened the sidewalk on the north side of Dada to Route 45 to a bike-friendly 8 feet.

The link installed by the forest district will provide a connection for an estimated 8,500 area residents.

Some of the subdivisions that will benefit most include Bittersweet Woods, Ravinia Woods, Kingsport Woods, Sedgwick Place, Elysian Fields and Concord Oaks, according to Jack Linehan, assistant to the village administrator.

"If there ever was a good return on your investment, this is it," Seebach said.

The Knowles Road path is planned to be extended north to Rollins Road next summer, according to a priority project list created by a village commission on walkability and pedestrian improvements.

That extension has been on hold to avoid conflicting with a new water tower project that began in 2018 and is expected to go live this summer, Linehan said.

In a separate initiative, the village of Third Lake provided $50,000 to convert a grass trail to a gravel surface from North Lake Avenue adjacent to its village hall to Rollins Savanna.

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