Bike enthusiasts are excited about the possibility of revitalizing an old route around Lake Jacksonville.
Steve Warmowksi, head of Jacksonville’s TownBrook.com Committee, says the idea is to build a pedestrian bridge over the Lake Jacksonville spillway to complete the circle around the lake.
“You have to have that,” says Warmowski. “Otherwise, the only way to get around the west end of the lake is go all the way to Route 367 which is dangerous.”
Jacksonville Parks and Lakes Superintendent Bruce Surratt says the idea has been floated several times during the past couple of decades, but is now closer to becoming a reality.
“For pedestrian and bike traffic it would be great for us to throw a couple of steel –beams across there, use some recycled plastic lumber and make a nice bridge across there that you could go from one side of the lake to the other,” says Surratt. “That’s what the committee is exploring now.”
Surratt says there used to be a bridge used by motorized traffic over the spillway before the Illinois Department of Transportation closed it.
“There’s a road on each side of where the bridge used to be, but it’s an old gravel road that we have not maintained,” says Surratt. “There could easily be trails put to that because the trees and stuff have been kept out of there. It is a big lane but it’s just an old gravel road that hasn’t been maintained.”
He says IDOT has to give the thumbs up on the project. Surratt says the city already has steel I-beams it can use to restore the bridge. Initial work could begin this spring.
“Hopefully, even this winter if the winter stays as mild as it has been,” says Surratt. “[The Parks and Lakes Department] would just do some measure and see what we’ve got in stock now that we could use. We’re big on recycling and those big I-beams would be great to use. Then, we’d see what we’d need new like recycled plastic lumber to put something up there that would last virtually forever.”
You can find out more information about the TownBrook.com committee by visiting TownBrook.com or search for their Facebook page.