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Cyclists urge construction of Route 66 bike path August 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Road trips.
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A group of several dozen bicyclists are riding on or near Route 66 from the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge near St. Louis to Chicago to have fun. But they’re also doing it to drum up support to build a bike path along the Mother Road in Illinois, reports the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Their goal is to promote efforts to build the Route 66 Trail, a paved bike path running the length of the highway’s right-of-way across the state. About 25 miles are completed, according to League of Illinois Bicyclists vice president Doug Oehler of Bloomington. A majority of those lie in McLean County in Towanda, Chenoa and Lexington.

Oehler and McLean County assistant county administrator Bill Wasson said the county, Bloomington and Normal are awaiting word on a federal grant to fund 80 percent of the path’s construction from Bloomington to Funks Grove. The communities and the county would provide the rest. Both men said the international tourist interest and the potential recreational opportunities justify the investment.

More about the current Route 66 Bike Trail can be found here.

I know that government money is tight right now because of the recession. But having at least a partial Route 66 Bike Trail of a hundred miles or so makes a lot of sense, in that it would open up a whole new avenue of tourism. That would give a slew of domestic and foreign travelers a way to explore the Mother Road in a new — and safe — way.

UPDATE: The Pontiac Daily Leader has a story about the bike ride.

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1. John Fritsche - November 14, 2009

Historic Route 66
Recreational Trail
Macoupin and Montgomery Counties in Illinois

Recently, the Illinois League of Bicyclists had a promotional Route 66 Bike Ride from the Chain of rocks Bridge, through Edwardsville, Staunton, Carlinville, Springfield, and on to Chicago. The idea is to promote a safe route from St. Louis to Chicago along the Historic Route 66 Corridor.
For a number of years now, various individuals, organizations, and groups have promoted an Historic Route 66 Trail from Staunton, through Mt.Olive to Litchfield.
From Staunton, to Mt.Olive, to Litchfield the Northbound Lane of Old Route 66 is abandoned. Yes, just sitting there, doing nothing. Our government is looking for ways to get people to exercise, this could be the place. Trails encourage all kinds of different development that could benefit this region of Illinois.
The roadway belongs to the State of Illinois, so there is no R.O.W. cost. The old roadway is still there, doing nothing. All that has to be done is remove some guardrail and mark the alignment. They do that every day. The Trail would be almost 17 miles long. The Trail would benefit the region, each community along the way, as well as, new companies coming into this area.
When this trail becomes a reality, a rider could safely travel from Litchfield, IL to the St.Louis Arch. But right now it is abandoned and just sitting there doing nothing. Please, no more excuses.
If you want to do something, talk to your Family and Neighbors and let them know how you feel. Then call or write our elected officials for their support. Let’s get it done this time.
John Fritsche


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