Lake County approves contract to advance proposed 'Patriot Path' multiuse trail along Route 137
A key step in a complicated and expensive project to link thousands of Lake County residents to a new trail system from Libertyville to North Chicago is set to begin.
The Lake County Board on Tuesday approved a $2.38 million contract with HR Green Inc. of McHenry for detailed design of two of the four segments of the Patriot Path, a proposed 5.5-mile trail along Route 137.
The multiuse path would link the Des Plaines River Trail east to the Robert McClory Bike Path at Sheridan Road near the Naval Station Great Lakes.
About 20,000 vehicles per day travel on the five-lane road, county transportation officials say, but there are limited or no pedestrian accommodations.
The estimated $30 million project would provide new commuting options and connections to parks, forest preservers, businesses, schools, employment centers and transit stops.
It also would improve pedestrian safety near the Naval Station Great Lakes and the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.
HR Gree will conduct what is known as Phase II design engineering, which is the step before construction. That's at least a few years away but is good news for Patriot Path supporters.
"Don't give in on those things that are really important," said longtime county board member Ann Maine of Lincolnshire, who said she began working on the idea shortly after joining the board in 2002.
Maine represents the 21st District, which includes Riverwoods, Lincolnshire, Bannockburn, Mettawa, Green Oaks and portions of Deerfield, Lake Forest, Waukegan, Gurnee and Grayslake.
Discussion of the path began in 2015, and the preferred route linking Libertyville, Green Oaks, Waukegan and North Chicago was chosen in 2018.
The work approved Tuesday is for segments between the Des Plaines River Trail to Sage Court/Brookhaven Drive just west of the Tri-State Tollway in Libertyville, and from Route 41 east to the Robert McClory bike path near Great Lakes.
Those two segments account for about $20 million of the total estimated project cost, which includes engineering, land acquisition and construction. Thinking the entire project couldn't be built at once because of the cost, the county divided it into four segments.
Ninety-three separate parcels in the two path segments have been identified for acquisition or easements, according to Shane Schneider, director of the Lake County Division of Transportation and county engineer.
"A big part of this work will be acquiring the necessary property rights," Schneider said.
Future phases of the Patriot Path calls for an elevated bridge over I-94. Bridges also are contemplated at busy intersections with routes 43 and 41.
The path is on the county's list of programmed projects, with construction targeted for 2023 to 2025. The county is seeking federal funding to offset costs.
In May, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider announced he had requested $9.8 million for the work as part of the 2021 reauthorization of the federal surface transportation bill.