Officials have shifted the bike path route to avoid Brookfield Zoo's main parking lot entrance.

Brush clearing along the west side of First Avenue north of 31st Street could begin as early as this week, signaling the start of phase-two construction to build a bike path connecting North Riverside’s residential neighborhoods with Riverside-Brookfield High School.

Village officials opened bids for the project on Sept. 1 at the North Riverside Village Commons, with all three companies coming in far below the initial estimates of $750,000 for the work.

The apparent low bidder was Lake Zurich-based Chicagoland Paving Contractors, at $504,900 – about 33 percent lower than the initial bid estimate. The high bid was roughly $604,440.

“It’s been 10 years since we’ve seen numbers like these,” said Public Works Director Tim Kutt of the bid prices for asphalt work.

The village saw similarly good pricing on asphalt paving for a residential street resurfacing project now under way throughout the village. 

Bids came in so low that officials decided to change the scope of work for the street paving project slightly, foregoing street patching in favor of full resurfacing on Hainsworth Avenue between Cermak Road and Traube Street and on the 2200 blocks of 11th and 12th avenues.

The village also decided to add three street patching projects in the 2300 and 2500 blocks of 4th Avenue.

While the street resurfacing work will be paid for using the proceeds of bonds slated to be issued later this fall, the bike path construction is being funded by the Cook County Forest Preserve District, which appropriated the money in its budget earlier this year.

When complete, the 8-foot wide asphalt path will provide an alternate route to RBHS along First Avenue, a very busy and dangerous state highway, for students who live in North Riverside.

An initial phase of construction in 2014 resulted in a path being built along the west side of First Avenue from Ridgewood Road to 31st Street. 

The second phase of construction will extend the path across 31st Street north along the west side of First Avenue, across Golfview Road where that street intersects with First Avenue, and then north to 26th Street along the west side of First Avenue.

A bike path already exists along 26th Street between First Avenue and 9th Avenue, where it connects with the forest preserve district’s Salt Creek Bike Path. A designated bike route continues east along 26th Street to Desplaines Avenue and then snakes its way to Veterans Park.

Kutt said that the village of North Riverside will be responsible for maintaining and plowing snow from the new path.

“It’ll be a high priority for my guys,” Kutt said.

Work on the new bike path is expected to be complete by mid-November. The only part of the project that will not be finished in 2016, said Kutt, will be the installation of two new traffic signals – one at 31st Street and First Avenue and the other where the path crosses Golfview Road at First Avenue.

According to Kutt, the signals tentatively are scheduled for installation in January 2017.

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