By Bob Balgemann


MACHESNEY PARK – Service drives usually are in commercial or industrial areas. Their purpose is to make it easier for customers and clients to get to a particular building.

Not so with the Alpine Road service drive. There only are houses along this short stretch of road, on the west side of Alpine. And those homeowners between Nelson Road and Juniper Lane will benefit from the multi-use path project that’s expected to be done this summer.

Village officials previously pledged to use utility tax funds to improve that portion of the service drive between Nelson and Roosevelt. But when they were successful in landing a $620,000 transportation alternative program (TAP) grant, a study determined the village could afford to rebuild the rest of the drive, south to Juniper near Schnuck’s grocery.

That work will be at the same time as the multi-use path is being construction along the west side of Alpine Road from Lowe’s to Juniper.

Planning staff recommended that the service drive be constructed at 25 feet wide, instead of the usual 30 feet. No-parking signs would be posted on one side of that drive.

“Doing to should create a larger area in which to construct the path improvements and, ideally, we would be able to locate the path a bit further from Alpine Road, to provide separation of the Alpine Road traffic from the path,” Village Engineer Chris Dopkins said.

“Additionally, the project would realize a savings of approximately $15,000 without greatly affecting the road’s ability to function,” he said.

Plans are in the final stages of completion, with a public bid letting scheduled to occur by April 8. The construction contract is expected to be awarded at the May 4 village board meeting.

Officials believe construction will begin in mid-May and essentially be completed by the end of July, in advance of the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Overall, this is an $840,000 project with the village required to provide a $220,000 match. Once completed, the path will connect the Rock River on the west with Rock Cut State Park on the east.

“The project has been a high priority for the village,” Mayor Jerry D. Bolin said. “This project also makes regional connection to the Illinois 173 corridor and completes a high-priority, missing link in the path network.”

Officials originally planned to have the path constructed from the entrance to Harlem High School south to Roosevelt Road. But when the TAP grant was obtained, it became possible to build it from Lowe’s to Schnuck’s.

The village and Harlem School District 122 have worked together on the project because some of the work will be done on district property.

A goal of the TAP is to allocate resources to well planned projects that provide and support alternate modes of transportation, enhance the transportation system through preservation of visual and cultural resources, and improve the quality of life for members of the communities.

In this case, safety of high school students will be enhanced because a small number of them no longer will have to walk along the shoulder of Alpine Road in order to get home after classes.

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