Proposed bike path would connect Carbondale, Murphysboro

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The first segment of a bike path designed to connect the cities of Carbondale and Murphysboro is being considered by local leaders.

The $71,000 project would be 80 percent funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the remaining $165,000 would be evenly split between the cities of Carbondale and Murphysboro and Jackson County.

"This would be a path stretching along the side of Illinois Route 13, separated from the roadway," said County Highway engineer Grant Guthman on Thursday. "It would stretch between wood road, to airport road, and may also include a pedestrian underpass to help people cross the highway."

The underpass once served as a railway, which now lies abandoned.

"The proposed trail will provide the first step in a safe and attractive alternative for traveling between Murphysboro and Carbondale and in rural Jackson County," a briefing on the project read. "This route was identified as part of the proposed Carbondale to Murphysboro Bike Plan and works in conjunction with Carbondale's proposed path along the abandoned railroad."

Money from the project comes from Illinois Department of Transportation funds reserved for multimodal projects, or projects designed to create multifaceted infrastructure, such as a bike path, walkway, or mass transit system.

The project would be constructed between 2018 and 2019, but only if each local agency commits to pay their share.

The Jackson County Board, Murphysboro City Council, and Carbondale City Council all plan to discuss the commitment at their respective upcoming meetings.

Ultimately, the path will provide a safe and attractive alternative for traveling between Murphysboro and Carbondale and in rural Jackson County.

Being a dedicated, non-motorized vehicle path, the path will divert cyclists away from busy roadways.

Removing pedestrians and cyclists from roadways designed for motorized vehicles will decrease the possibility of vehicle-pedestrian/bicycle collisions.

If local agencies commit, bidding will begin in November.

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