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Edgewater Will Link To Joliet After Two Mile Bike Trail Gap Is Completed

 

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Photo: Traillink.com

More than a century has passed since famed city planner Daniel H. Burnham co-authored his 1909 Plan of Chicago to integrate a series of projects including highways, parks, railway systems and civic buildings.

The goal was to grow the greater Chicago area. These days, efforts continue to connect a network of greenways and trails, wetlands, parks and forest preserves from southeastern Wisconsin through Illinois to northwestern Indiana.

More specifically, these “Green Legacy” projects seek to complete the region’s trail system, connect residents to its rivers and streams, expand neighborhood green spaces, protect the shoreline and preserve regionally significant open space.

One particular portion of the Green Legacy projects that has particular resonance with Edgewater residents is the completion of a bicycle trail connecting Edgewater with Joliet. However, the trail is blocked by what has come to be called the Burnham Gap.

The Village of Burnham, Illinois, is a southern suburb east of Dolton, Illinois, and northwest of Hammond, Indiana.

The 11-mile Burnham Greenway is a former railroad right-of-way linking Chicago to Lansing, Illinois. It has a two-mile gap that is the missing link in a crossroads of several trails of regional, state and national significance, according to www.burnhamplan100.lib.uchicago.edu. Closing the gap will connect the Calumet-Saganashkee (Cal-Sag) Trail to the Chicago Lakefront.

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Bill Poore, a board member of the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail, said construction to close the Burnham Gap will begin this summer and fall. For more information, visit www.calsagtrail.org.

“We think it’s a good idea and a good plan,” Village of Burnham Mayor Robert Polk said of ongoing efforts to close the gap. He said the roughly $5 million federally funded project is being completed in phases and likely won’t end for another year. It involves building a bridge over five rail lines.

Closing the Burnham Greenway gap is a major Green Legacy goal that requires overcoming complex infrastructure, land use and right-of-way hurdles, including securing the use of a utility right-of-way and constructing a bridge, according to the Burnham Plan Centennial website.

Along with the Village of Burnham, partners in closing the trail gap include the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Openlands and ComEd.

“We certainly hope it will have a positive impact on some new economic development, which is needed and wanted,” Polk added.

 


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