New trail will link Arlington Heights to Buffalo Creek preserve
Years in the making, construction on a pedestrian connection from Arlington Heights into the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve in Lake County is scheduled to begin any day now, providing a 500-foot link to the forest preserve's expansive trail network.
The project has faced delays amid high bids and back-and-forth among local governments about who should pay for it. At the same time, forest preserve users have advocated for a connection that would link the north side of Lake-Cook Road near Wilke Road with the trail system, and in the absence of one, they created an unofficial route or "goat trail" to get them there.
Arlington Heights officials, who are taking the lead on the project, got word last fall from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning that the proposed upgrades got approved for $198,300 in federal funds under the Transportation Alternatives Program. The village and Cook County are each contributing $33,717 to cover the remainder of the $265,735 cost.
The village received federal funds in 2008, but bids were well above estimates and the project was withdrawn.
Briget Schwab, Arlington Heights' project engineer, said the difference this time is that funding was secured from multiple sources, and the plans slightly revised.
The low bid, submitted by Schaumburg-based A Lamp Concrete Contractors, was accepted by the Illinois Department of Transportation in June and approved by the Arlington Heights village board last week, which allows for construction to proceed.
The 8-foot-wide gravel path will be built from Lake-Cook Road to the existing four-mile network of crushed-gravel trails within the 408-acre preserve. Another 1.2 miles of trail is already under construction.
Planned improvements also include painted crosswalks across Wilke Road and across Lake-Cook Road just east of the intersection; related push button signals and accessible ramps; and the associated modification of the traffic signal.
Schwab said construction is expected to take 30 working days, and the new path should be ready for walking and biking in the fall.
The Lake County Forest Preserve will be responsible for maintenance of the path once construction is complete.