New path through Swansea and Fairview Heights will connect 2,000 homes to Metro Bike Trail
The 1.7-mile pathway that will extend from Illinois Route 161 to Sullivan Drive in Belleville to Frank Scott-Parkway in Fairview Heights will connect more than 2,000 homes in Fairview Heights and Swansea to the MetroBikeLink Trail System, according to a release from St. Clair County.
“St. Clair County Transit has several projects currently in the works to expand the reach of its MetroBike Link System,” said Ken Sharkey, managing director for St. Clair County Transit District. “This new trail is part of the overall plan and we look forward to providing another 1.7 miles of accessible pathways that will ultimately connect community members to public transportation.”
Subdivisions that will have most direct access to the trail include Willow Walk, Sullivan Meadows, Cobblestone Park, Sullivan Farms, Sullivan Manors, Larkin Meadows, Fairfield Manor, Wild Horse Meadows, Quail Ridge, Barrington Place, Greenbriar Meadows, Meadowlake Acres, Countryview Estates, and Huntleigh Place, according to the statement.
Traffic lights at Illinois Route 161 will be modified to include pedestrian push buttons as well as a wheelchair accessible ramp to connect the existing sidewalk along 17th Street in Belleville. The connection will provide pedestrian access to another 2,500 homes in Belleville to the trail system.
The traffic lights at Frank Scott Parkway will also be modified with pedestrian push buttons and wheelchair accessible ramps.
The design phase will take about a year to complete. Sharkey said that includes designing the trail, a bridge to go over the MetroLink tracks and a retaining wall near Llewellyn Road; geotechnical borings/reporting; extending a large box culvert; and coordination with the Illinois Department of Transporation, Metro and St. Clair County Highway Departments for permits for the work
The MetroBikeLink System is 14 miles of trails in Southwestern Illinois that links users to the six MetroLink stations operating in St. Clair County.
MetroBikeLink trail system
The first section of the MetroBikeLink System opened in 2002 and included a four-mile trail, extending from Southwestern Illinois College to the Swansea MetroLink Station.
Since that time the system has expanded to include the Memorial, Fairview Heights and Shiloh Scott sections for a total of 14 miles of trail adjacent to the MetroLink light rail tracks. Additional trails have been built by the St. Clair County Transit District to connect those neighboring communities, including the Orchard Loop Trail, the Engelmann Park Connector, and the Old Collinsville Road Trail (currently under construction) totaling another eight miles of connected trails.
The pathways, along with connecting trails from other municipalities, combine to provide more than 35 miles of connected trails in St. Clair County.
Devese Ursery is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.