Bikers tune up your bikes, and walkers and runners, lace up your tennis shoes: The St. Clair County Transit District is set to open 2.2 more miles of the MetroBikeLink Trail.
Community members are invited to join St. Clair County leaders at a ribbon-cutting to officially open the new segment at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Swansea MetroLink Station.
The new section will connect the Swansea MetroLink Station and the Memorial Hospital Station. This new segment includes a grade-separated bridge over Fullerton Road and drinking fountains at both the Swansea and Memorial Hospital stations.
"This project demonstrates just how effective our multi-modal system is in St. Clair County, said County Board Chairman Mark Kern. "We are seeing a diverse group using the trail system. ... By adding this 2.2-mile segment, we are further opening the system to our residents and visitors alike."
The project came in at a total cost of $3.3 million, more than half of which was funded by the county transit district. Another 36 percent came from the Federal Transit Administration, while the remaining funds were contributed by the Metro-East Park and Recreation District.
Eventually, the transit district hopes to extend the trail 3.5 miles westward to the Fairview Heights MetroLink Station and 3.5 miles eastward to the Shiloh-Scott MetroLink Station.
"Our goal is to create a complete trail system in St. Clair County and this new segment is one big step in the right direction," said Bill Grogan with St. Clair County Transit District. "We have already seen spurs, and connections to neighborhoods off of the current trail, including a new one at Southwestern Illinois College to the adjacent neighborhoods.
"It is our hope that this trail system, with the ability to hop on MetroLink or MetroBus, will link our system to the Missouri side of the river."
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.