Mark Probst of Teutopolis rides a bike part during a 2019 Ironman Triathlon. Bicyclists like Probst could soon use a citywide bike lane proposed by the city of Effingham.

EFFINGHAM — The citywide bike lane project has moved closer to realization. Preliminary designs have been submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation for approval.

In 2017, the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program awarded the city $934,000 for design, construction and construction engineering to stripe bike lanes on roadways throughout Effingham. A trail head/parking lot, signage, kiosks and trail connections are also planned for construction.

The city and TREC will share in the 20 percent cost to be paid for locally, each chipping in $117,800 or 10 percent. The total cost of the project is expected to be $1.17 million.

In March, Director of Public Works Jeremy Heuerman said Effingham was one of the first to apply for the ITEP funds under the new Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) requirements. Therefore, it took the city more than a year to get funds for engineering and design work.

This week, Heuerman updated the Effingham City Council, saying that now that the preliminary design has been submitted, once approved, it is expected that the project could go out for bids in March. Assuming all goes as planned, the construction could begin in 2020.

“It’s going to be a very big project,” said Heuerman. “It’s going to change the face of Effingham with the infrastructure, as far as how you drive on the streets and making sure you are seeing the bike lanes.”

The city leader said it would be pertinent to have some public education making both bicyclists and drivers aware of the bike lanes and the rules of the road for both.

“Rules of the road do apply on bikes,” said Heuerman. “We think this project will make for a safer route route for bicyclists.”

The bike lanes project will include striping, signage and a parking lot or a trail head on Outer Belt West is still a part of the plan. A wide sidewalk along Keller Drive will be extended to go across Keller for safer transportation.

“We are trying to hit the parks and schools and the downtown district to give them a great place to ride,” said Heuerman.

In other road construction matters, it was announced that Rickelman Avenue is expected to be re-opened on Friday. That road project cost $833,700 and was contracted by Effingham Asphalt. The work began on Aug. 5.

In other business, the City Council:

  • Announced the promotions to sergeant in the Effingham Police Department were Aaron Lange and Josh Douthit. Also recognized was a new police officer, Alec Westrich.
  • Heard a breakfast fundraiser for the police K-9 will be held Saturday at the Elks Lodge. Serving will be from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., on a free-will donation basis.
  • Heard the Effingham police department now has three licensed drone pilots.
  • Set bid letting for sanitary sewer rehabilitation project and manhole rehabilitation project.
  • Reviewed the lowest bid to specifications from Dasenbrock Fence Company, $16,900, for fencing around the public properties building parking lot for both protection and security.
  • Heard a request for dates for the Effingham Chamber of Commerce Hometown Christmas Event, 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 29; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 30; and noon to 5 pm. Dec. 1.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.


Dawn Schabbing is a senior reporter at the Effingham Daily News, covering Effingham City Hall, Unit 40, and special projects. A graduate of Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism, she lives in Neoga.

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