Improving regional mobility for non-motorized travelers is a priority of both the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The two agencies collaborated with the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) on developing a new, 10-foot-wide multi-use trail connecting two forest preserves in Waukegan. The approximately 2-mile asphalt trail was installed within the ComEd right-of-way (ROW), and includes a pedestrian bridge over Waukegan River and 400 lineal feet of boardwalk. A new pedestrian signal was installed for the crossing at Lewis Avenue, which is under LCDOT jurisdiction.
The $1.8 million improvement had been prioritized within each of the three agencies’ official initiatives: LCFPD’s Master Plan for Regional Trail Connections, LCDOT’s 2040 Non-Motorized Plan, and CMAP’s Northeastern Illinois Regional Greenways and Trails Plan. Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. (GHA) was retained to provide the required Phase I Engineering Study, as well as Phase II Design Engineering. Specific services included a complete Phase I Project Development Report, traffic data collection, sight distance analysis, topographic and boundary survey, wetland delineation, hydraulic analysis, preliminary and final engineering design, wetland and floodplain permitting, and preparation of grant applications. Phase I and II were funded by LCFPD, with participating funds from the Waukegan Park District and the City of Waukegan. The project received federal funding for construction through the Transportation Alternatives Program.
Completed in November 2017, the path provides access to area schools, Waukegan Park District’s Henry Pfau Callahan Park and Bevier Park, shopping centers, the Waukegan Metra Station, and a fluid regional trail system. At its western terminus, the trail connects to the Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve at Green Bay Road (IL Rte. 31), and links to the Robert McClory Bike Path at Lyons Woods Forest Preserve. From there, users can access the North Shore Bike Path to the south, which also feeds into the Des Plaines River Trail.