Recent developments have the township instructing engineering firm Prein & Newhof to design the extension of the 172nd Avenue pathway as a 5-foot concrete sidewalk instead of the much wider bike path.
“I instructed the engineer along the route (to extend) the city’s sidewalk system instead of our bike path system,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said.
The proposed path would connect to crosswalks by the Marathon gas station at the corner of Robbins Road and 172nd Avenue. There are currently ramps at the intersection, but no sidewalks attached to them.
Since the township is connecting to the city’s sidewalk system, and because there isn’t sufficient space in the right of way for the wider bike path, township officials decided to take the revised route.
“I think (the bike path) was pushing it toward condemnation,” Cargo said, referencing the fact that the township would likely have had to exercise its right of eminent domain to secure land to install a bike path.
During a recent Township Board meeting, there was some concern among trustees as to how close the new walkway would be to 172nd Avenue, and if there would be any safety issues. Cargo noted that the new path should be safe.
“We’re totally within the road right of way,” he said. “It’ll be closer to the road than we’d have liked, but it is not going to be unreasonable.”
Cargo added that the county is fine with the safety aspect of the project, and that engineers will survey the parcels and meet on-site with the Road Commission to verify the minimum separation on the south end for a 5-foot concrete sidewalk.
According to Cargo, an easement will still be required from one of the northern-most parcels, but the owner of that property has been cooperative.
With these changes coming to light, it doesn’t appear that the project will take place this year.