A former McHenry County resident now causing trouble in Boone County pointed me to this Woodstock Advocate March 28th article by Gus Philpott about a $700,000 bike path from the railroad tracks at Oak Street to McHenry County College.
“Can you imagine a $350,000/mile bike path? What in the world could possibly cost $350,000 per mile???”
Since I was at the MCC board meeting the night it gained college approval, I thought it was worth looking into.
There was lots of kidding of Donna Kurtz about whether she would use it to get to meetings. She promised to do it and, after she told me she has ridden her bike to work in Barrington, I believe her.
The cost estimate for the Crystal Lake to Woodstock Bike Path, Stage 1, is $762,000. Stage 1 is from Oak Street in CL to MCC. The FY 09 budget contains $600,000 for the project and the balance will be budgeted next FY. These moneys are coming from the 2007 bond referendum.
In addition, the District has received a $200,000 grant from IDNR for this project. This will be recovered once the project is complete.
We are hoping for a fall ’09 /spring ’10 construction. This will depend on how quickly we can get the permits approved from the various regulatory agencies.
John Kremer, Director of Operations
I asked the distance and was told it was 1.9 miles long.
Finally, I asked why it cost so much. Thought you might be interested in the reply:
Bike paths are the most expensive public use project the District implements. One of the reasons they are expensive is because they are linear parks. This means that 100% of the project/site is visible or easily accessible to the user. Meaning, 100% of the trail has to be sound and aesthetically pleasing. These are high use facilities, therefore, they must be designed and constructed to a meet a level of standards so the public can use them safely.
This project is not a trail which is contained within a larger District conservation area. If that were the case, we could design it to cost much less because we would have more flexibility to avoid problematic areas.
This trail runs on a narrow corridor; crosses creeks, roads and drainage ways; travels over hills and through valleys; touch multiple jurisdictions and each one requires a permit of some form. Each of these presents challenges and with challenges comes more standards and with all of that comes higher costs.
All that being said, these bike trials are wildly popular with the public.
The Prairie Trial in Crystal Lake is the most used facility the District operates.
Hope this answers your question.
On top, you see the future parking lot south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at Oak Street, where the bike path will start.
The next picture is how the bike path will enter McHenry County College.
Finally, you see the Prairie Path sign and September flowers on Main Street in Crystal Lake.