CHICAGO (CBS) — Cyclists, walkers, and runners are in for a big treat in the south suburbs this weekend. The completed 11-mile west leg of the Cal-Sag Trail will officially open between Alsip and Lemont.

When complete, the Cal-Sag Trail will be 26 miles long, and connect Burnham to Lemont. It’s supposed to be finished in 2017.

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Cyclist Glenn Kraemer, of Orland Park, was taking a sneak peek of the Cal-Sag Trail on Wednesday. It officially opens Saturday morning, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights.

“I just got to this part from the south, and I’ve not yet gone west on it all the way to Palos Park, and I’m looking forward to being able to go all the way to Lemont, and everything else,” he said..

Steve Buchtel, executive director of Trails for Illinois, said Kraemer’s not alone in checking out the trail before it officially opens.

“We have a saying in the trail-building business that users are 20 feet behind the bulldozers, and that’s been exactly the story for the Cal-Sag Trail,” he said.

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Buchtel said the western leg of the Cal-Sag Trail is 11 miles long, and runs along the Cal-Sag Channel from 131st and Cicero in Alsip to Archer and Route 83 in Lemont. Much of it runs through Cook County Forest Preserves, and it connects with several existing bike trails in the County Forest Preserve system.

“This is a channel people have driven over for years. The only time they’ve paid attention to it is when something awful ended up in a headline. Now, it’s become the … recreation destination for the Chicago Southland,” Buchtel said.

Bicyclist Kevin Bourke was using the trail Wednesday.

“This is great. I tell you, I’ve been waiting for this for several years. I think they did a great job. I’ve ridden it maybe halfway through, and it’s a wonderful trail,” he said.

Buchtel said the trail will be good for the communities it goes through.

“This could be something that makes these communities along here more livable, more sustainable, and I really like the development opportunities that trails like this – along a waterway – open up,” he said.

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The next step is to pave the 15-mile leg of the trail between Alsip and Burnham, which should be completed by 2017.