CHICAGO (CBS) — A much-anticipated new park and bike trail from Humboldt Park to Wicker Park won’t be completed until next year, after the bitter winter weather hampered construction efforts.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports the 2.7-mile park and trail system dubbed “The 606” was being built atop an unused railway along Bloomingdale Avenue.
The 606, also known as the Bloomingdale Trail, originally was slated to open later this fall, but organizers said the opening has been pushed back until June 2015, because they could not get much work done this past winter with all the frigid and snowy winter.
“Lots of blizzards. There were several times where we would have things scheduled, like the western bridge demolition, that had to be postponed because of winter,” said Beth White, who heads up the Chicago office of the Trust For Public Land, a land conservation group helping organize the project.
The harsh conditions caused utility lines to freeze to the ground. Crews were unable to relocate fiber optic cables buried under the site, because they had frozen.
“Things like that just have a ripple effect, so that means certain things get delayed. Then you can’t do the landscaping, you can’t do installation. Also, a lot of landscape material was lost in the region, because of the harsh winter. So there was an issue of supply, as well,” White said.
The brutal conditions this past winter also delayed the relocation of an old 70-foot iron bridge from Ashland Avenue to Western Avenue as part of the project. The bridge move was pushed back two months due to the weather.
White said the 606 will see a number of uses once it’s completed.
“Probably most heavily used by cyclists during the commuter hours. Running clubs will be using the path, because there will be a rubber surface for running paths. And in areas where we have enough space, there’ll be little nature paths,” she said.
Regardless of delays, White said the 606 will be a city treasure.
“After 10 years in the making, having a delay for six months I think is going to be well worth the wait,” she said.