CROWN POINT | Plans are taking shape for enhancements along the Erie Lackawanna bike trail in Crown Point.
Design renderings show a red-roofed picnic shelter and decorative green space and a paved lot to replace existing parking on bare ground near the Summit Street entrance to the trail.
Cyclists and walkers will have to wait until next year for the additions while the project goes through the planning process, officials said.
The city is working with engineering design firm Butler Fairman Seufert to use federal funding left over from the 2010 construction of the nearly two-mile bike trail extension.
"We all wish construction could get done quicker," Mayor David Uran said.
The use of federal dollars and the need to acquire neighboring NIPSCO rights of way added steps to the process, he said.
It is hoped construction on the Summit Street entrance could begin in late spring, Uran said.
A second improved access point — or trailhead — planned at 93rd Avenue likely won't get under way until 2014, said Peter Kohut, an engineer for Butler Fairman Seufert.
The 93rd Avenue trailhead will be planned with fewer enhancements than the Summit Street access point, which is nearer to the heart of the city's downtown, Kohut said.
Included in the plans are a roundabout, or circular intersection, on 93rd Avenue near the entry to the bike trail.
An early concept places the roundabout on the north side of 93rd Avenue, just east of Chase Street, replacing a sharp turn where 93rd Avenue intersects Chase Street near the Lake County Government Complex.
The new design is intended to improve traffic safety at the intersection and make it easier and safer to get onto the bike trail. A sidewalk along 93rd Avenue from Chase to Main streets is part of the plan.
Funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement program was expected to cover 75 percent of the cost of the roundabout. A cost estimate was not available.
The Crown Point segment of the bike trail runs north-south along the city's west side. The $2 million project was paid from 80 percent federal funding and a combination of other sources.
The full Erie Lackawanna trail runs along an abandoned rail line between Crown Point and the Little Calumet River in Hammond.