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Ribbon-cutting for bike and pedestrian underpass

GENEVA – Although the $1.85 million project was finished a month ago, officials gathered Friday for a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at the South Street Trail Bicycle/Pedestrian Underpass.

As Randall Road carries 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles a day, Kane County Transportation Deputy Director Tom Rickert said having the underpass open to allow safe passage for bicyclists, pedestrians and joggers reflects the county’s goal of promoting healthy living.

“We really seek to address the multi-modal aspect of transportation,” Rickert said. “We need to continue to improve the safety of the other uses – pedestrian and bicyclists along the road.”

Kane County Engineer and Transportation Director Carl Schoedel rode his bicycle to the event.

Greg Bales, suburban outreach coordinator for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, said when people talk about federal spending, “this is what it looks like.”

Federal money made up 80 percent of the project’s cost with $360,000 in county transportation funds making up the balance.

County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen praised the underpass project.

“We have this wonderful gift that’s been built and provided by taxpayers of Kane County and the wonderful city of Geneva,” Lauzen said. “A trail system isn’t as good as it could be if there is no connectivity, so this component of the trail system provides connectivity.”

Lauzen thanked federal and state taxpayers in addition to local taxpayers, the Illinois Department of Transportation for administering the federal funds, as well as the federal government and the City of Geneva for their partnership in the project.

Ed Foster of Geneva, one of a group of bicyclists who came to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said he was happy with the project.  

“It provides a very good way to get from the east side of Randall Road to the west side of Randall Road,” Foster said of the tunnel. “Now we don’t have to cross that Keslinger up there. We don’t have to go to Fargo and wait in line for the lights and the cars turning. It’s a much safer way to get across here.”

Travelers can come through the tunnel at the end of South Street, then go up a slope to the Keslinger and Randall road intersection to cross and continue.

“There is a little push-button by the traffic lights there [at Keslinger and Randall] to turn the walk signal on.” Foster said. “Everybody’s supposed to stop.”

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