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City of McHenry, county to expand bike path along Bull Valley Road

Officials want to fill a gap in the regional trail network to allow access to places such as McHenry City Hall, Moraine Hills State Park and Centegra Hospital. The city-maintained path runs along Charles J. Miller Road from Route 31 to River Road, and there is a gap between Prairie Trail and Route 31.
Officials want to fill a gap in the regional trail network to allow access to places such as McHenry City Hall, Moraine Hills State Park and Centegra Hospital. The city-maintained path runs along Charles J. Miller Road from Route 31 to River Road, and there is a gap between Prairie Trail and Route 31.

McHENRY – The city of McHenry has approved an intergovernmental agreement to expand its bike and walking path along Bull Valley Road.

Officials want to fill a gap in the regional trail network to allow access to places such as McHenry City Hall, Moraine Hills State Park and Centegra Hospital. The agreement will cost the city about $37,500 for phase 1 design and engineering. McHenry County would pay about $150,000. The McHenry County Board on Tuesday night passed a resolution approving the 2018-’22 transportation program, which includes the Bull Valley Road shared-use path, county documents show.

The city-maintained path runs along Charles J. Miller Road from Route 31 to River Road, and there is a gap between the Prairie Trail and Route 31.

“While the path’s construction along the county highway provides mobility for pedestrians and cyclists, it doesn’t provide a connection to the McHenry County Conservation District Prairie Trail 4,300 feet west of Route 31,” Public Works Director Jon Schmitt said in a note to the McHenry City Council.

The project has been identified as a “high priority” by planning agencies and might be eligible for grant funding, Schmitt said.

Biking advocates said that because there is no connecting path, they have to ride along Bull Valley Road, which can be dangerous.

“Quite frankly, you take your life into your hands,” said Greg Glover, member of the McHenry County Bicycle Advocates. “People go quickly on Bull Valley Road. … This will give people that ability to commute.”

Glover said he gathered about 1,000 signatures on a petition for the project, and interest came from all over McHenry County.

“There is a pretty overwhelming community interest,” he said. “When you have a connection point like that, you have created a trail system, and people look for that when they are looking for somewhere to go.”

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