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Local

Grant could help Sterling expand bike path

Proposed route would run along Second Street

STERLING – The city’s network of bike and pedestrian paths could expand along East Second Street – with a possible pedestrian walkway over First Avenue.

The City Council heard a proposal Monday from Geoff Smith and Brian Frickenstein with Willett, Hofmann and Associates for a 4,000-foot extension of the bike path along East Second Street, from the intersection with First Avenue to East Third Street near the Dillon Home.

The $1.1 million proposed path would be part of a $2.7 million project for road improvements along East Second Street. For its share of the bike path, the city is applying for about $880,000 in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant funds through the Illinois Department of Transportation; it would have to match the remaining $220,000. Whether the grant is approved won’t be known until some time next spring, and no start date has been set for the proposed expansion.

The proposal calls for for a 10-foot wide concrete trail, widening and rebuilding existing sidewalks and maintaining existing parking. The project also would add an additional 5 feet of parkway between the trail and street for added safety.

The pedestrian walkway over First Avenue would be just north of the existing railroad bridge, with a loop to allow foot and bicycle traffic to cross the street and continue south, possibly to connect with riverfront development at the former Northwestern Steel and Wire property.

Design specifications are still being determined.

“Anything is open at this point. This is not the final design,” Frickenstein said.

The proposal also would narrow Second Street somewhat. Frickenstein said part of the reason is to try to have a reduce traffic on the street.

“People use that as the main drag to get to East Third by Broadway. Maybe we can encourage them to turn a bit sooner. Part of the intent here is to turn it back into a residential area as opposed to a through street,” Frickenstein said.

Alderman Jim Wise asked, “If the grant does not get approved, do we go ahead with the roadwork?”

“That remains to be seen,” City Manager Scott Shumard said.

NEXT MEETING

The City Council next meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, at City Hall, 212 Third Ave., in the first-floor Council Chambers.

Go to sterling-il.gov or call City Hall at 815-632-6621 for an agenda or more information.

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