Cal-Sag Trail Project Quiet But 'Still Going Strong'
Palos Heights official hopes for construction in the spring and open trails by the fall of 2013.
It’s been a quiet year when it comes to news about progress on the building of the Calumet-Sag Trail, but that’s about to change in 2013.
Currently, all the work on the western part of the trail, which will impact Palos Park, Palos Heights and Alsip, is behind the scenes. According to Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Director Mike Leonard, the project is in a phase involving plenty of paperwork as the Illinois Department of Transportation prepares to bid out the project.
“This project is still going strong,” Leonard said. “It’s a project that people have been planning for eight years and it’s nice to see how close we’re getting to seeing the results.”
Leonard said that Palos Park, Palos Heights and Alsip have received monetary grants from either the Illinois Transportation Advancement Program or the Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program and he hopes construction will begin in the spring and some trails will be ready for use in the fall.
He added that if Cook County receives a grant in the coming months, the trail from 127th Street in Alsip to Route 171 in Lemont could be in use by the end of 2013.
According to the Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail website, the western part of the trail will connect with the eastern portion, which begins in Burnham, to form a 30-mile path for hiking, biking and observing nature.
Leonard said that the western part of the trail—from Alsip to Lemont – will be special.
“The western side will be 12 miles of trail about 10 feet wide made of asphalt,” he said. “The key to the trail is that is it will not cross any major intersection from about 127th and Route 83 until you get to 171. That’s pretty significant. Other trails cross some pretty busy streets. We go under all of the bridges because we follow the canal. That’s a cool feature. It’s safer for families.”
Many years from now, Leonard said there could be enough trails that one can start at Lake Michigan and walk or bike all the way to LaSalle-Peru.
While that’s a long way off, he said that plans to expand trails in DuPage County and along Interstate 355 are in the works.
“Walking, jogging and biking in the southwest suburbs is going to explode in the coming years,” he said.