An $800,000 grant will enable an expansion of the Route 66 bikeway north of Towanda. (Photo courtesy Joe Strupek/flickr)
By Sarah Beckman
BLOOMINGTON - The Historic Route 66 Bikeway will be expanding in McLean County.
The county was awarded $800,000 from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), which gives money to counties across the state that focus on community transportation projects. It will extend the bikeway 2.5 miles north of Towanda.
County administrator Bill Wasson said the bikeway will provide numerous opportunities.
"We expect this is a project that will provide recreational opportunities," said Wasson. "It also provides a safeway for people to take their bikes out of the urban areas where there is much higher traffic."
Funding has already been approved for the section from Normal to Towanda.
"We will be working on the north section first with this money," said Wasson.
The project is still in the engineering phase, and will not be officially implemented until 2014.
The ITEP is a federally-funded program that encourages transportation-related enhancement projects in a variety of categories. Local matching funds are required, and work must begin on the projects within three years.
The grant comes with a $200,000 local match that the county, Bloomington, Normal and towns along the trail will share.