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SIUE connection among new Madison County trails. What else will be built?

Madison County Transit has more than 10 projects in underway, including new trails, connections and renovations.
Derik Holtmann
Belleville News-Democrat
Madison County Transit has more than 10 projects in underway, including new trails, connections and renovations.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Madison County Transit officials are working on more than 10 new trails and improvement projects, including routes that will connect local neighborhoods and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to the extensive trail system.

The Madison County trail system consists of more than 135 miles of Class 1 bikeways. A Class 1 bikeway is separated from motorized traffic and serves bikers, pedestrians, roller skaters, skateboarders and more. They are dog-friendly, as well.

Staff are prioritizing walkability, bikeability and accessibility for people who use mobility aids in their projects and renovations, Madison County Transit managing director SJ Morrison said.

Here’s what to know about the trail projects in Edwardsville, Collinsville and nearby.

New MCT trails

  • Alton Greenway: Madison County Transit is working to make an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Alton to design and construct a shared-use path down Broadway. Madison County Transit has committed $3 million for this project.
  • Chain of Rocks Road shared-use path will run on the south side of Chain of Rocks Road from Mitchell Elementary School to Liberty Place. The project will cost around $1.8 million and will be partially funded by grants. This path is in the final design stage.
  • Formosa East Trail in Troy will connect the MCT Goshen Trail to the MCT Silver Creek Trail, which runs parallel to U.S. Route 40. This project is in the land acquisition phase.
  • Formosa West Trail will connect the MCT Goshen Trail to the Collinwood neighborhood in Collinsville. Final design has been completed and MCT staff expects to go out to bid for construction this year.
  • Godfrey Trail Corridor: Madison County Transit is providing $500,000 in funding for this corridor, which will be built by Godfrey staff. This project will involve multiple phases of construction and is currently in the land acquisition stage.

Madison County Transit has a number of projects in the works, including a Venice trail project, a new trail to separate a Granite City nature trail connection from cars and more. The MCT’s Goshen Trail extends into O’Fallon in St. Clair County.

Construction is almost finished for the Yellowhammer connection trail, which will connect the MCT Goshen Trail to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus. Morrison said he hopes it will be open by the end of the summer.

“This is going to be a game-changer for walking and biking to the SIUE campus,” Morrison said.

In addition to all of the new construction in progress, staff are also focused on maintaining the system.

“We build these trails and it’s incumbent upon us to maintain them and make sure we’re providing a trail that is usable and that is user-friendly, and sometimes that means reconstruction or resurfacing,” Morrison said.

Maintenance items include replacing an old gravel access road with a more accessible ramp and repaving as needed.

While trail users have much to look forward to with new paths and renovations, local bikers recently experienced the loss of a favorite furry friend.

An “incredibly friendly” cat, well-known to MCT trail users died in late May, and Morrison said he will be missed by many who frequented the bikeways.

“Newt was a celebrity on the trails and he really did brighten people’s experience on the MCT trails,” Morrison said.

Newt roamed the MCT trails for at least 5 years, Morrison said, and he is memorialized by a large orange cat statue on an Edwardsville trail. The cat’s trail friends have left flowers, candles, photos and other tokens by his statue.

Meredith Howard is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Meredith Howard is a service journalist with the Belleville News-Democrat in Belleville, Illinois.