The Riverdale portion of a proposed hiking trail along the Cal-Sag Channel, along with construction of new bicycle paths in Calumet City and University Park, are among the state's $52.7 million in local transportation improvement project this year.
About $2.18 million of that money will be used to develop part of the Calumet-Sag Greenway Trail to create a 26-mile hiking trail that runs from southwest suburban Lemont to the Burnham Greenway Trail that would connect it to the Illinois/Indiana border.
The Riverdale portion of the project includes a 10-foot-wide path from Halsted and Jackson streets to Indiana Avenue and 138th Street along the Cal-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River corridor.
State officials said the project will be constructed in segments with work to begin this year.
Other area projects to receive funding from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program include one in Calumet City, where $191,110 will be spent to build a 0.78-mile-long bike path on Torrence Avenue near River Oaks Shopping Center. It connects to the bike path already developed by the Cook County Forest Preserve district at the northeast corner of Torrence Avenue and River Oaks Drive.
University Park will benefit from $448,760 spent on construction of a 2-mile bike path/multi-use trail along the University Parkway. The 10-foot-wide asphalt path would go from Western Avenue to Steger/Monee Road, and would provide a link to residential neighborhoods with a retail district at Western Avenue and Exchange Street.
State transportation officials say they hope both projects encourage people to find alternates to cars.
About 400 jobs will be created from the 71 projects located across Illinois. Projects were chosen from among 232 applicants. They include development of bike paths and walking trails, along with historic preservation and streetscape beautification efforts.
“These grants will make our communities better places in which to live and work,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said, in a prepared statement. “They promote outdoor activity and help make us more proud of what our home towns have to offer.”