Buffalo Creek Project

Buffalo Creek Multi-Use Trail Extension Project
Posted on 09/01/2020
Lake Cook Road and Wilke Road

Over the years the Village has received countless requests for a safe connection to the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve north of Lake-Cook Road.  This connection was also identified in the Village’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (2017) and as a high priority project by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission.  

Currently, the safest access point to the Buffalo Creek Trail system is at the northwest corner of the intersection of Arlington Heights and Lake Cook Road.  However, as evidenced by the “goat trail” on the north side of Arlington Heights Road, users are crossing, unprotected, at the Wilke Road signal which is approximately 0.25 miles west. 

Additionally, users are crossing at the at-grade trail crossing over Schaeffer Road, approximately 0.15 miles north of Lake Cook Road.  It should be noted, however, that while Schaeffer Road and Wilke Road are designated bikeways, there is no signal at the Lake Cook Road-Schaeffer Road intersection, and there is no access to the Buffalo Creek trail system at Wilke Road, nor is there a sidewalk along the north side of Lake Cook Road leading back to Schaeffer Road. This is the much-needed connection the Village is looking to complete. 

This project will provide an essential east-west bikeway connection for Arlington Heights residents to access towns with ease such as Long Grove, Palatine, and Buffalo Grove. The Village itself has recognized this as an important connection for years. 

In 2008, with the prompting of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, the Village sought out and received CMAQ funding for the pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Lake-Cook and Wilke Road which included new sidewalk landings, signal modifications, pavement markings, and trail connection.  Unfortunately, the bids at that time came significantly over the estimate and the project was withdrawn. 

In 2017, the Village applied for the Invest in Cook grant, but was unsuccessful. With the Lake County Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve path improvements and MWRD project currently underway, requests have only increased in frequency and the Village is exploring options to resurrect this project.

The Buffalo Creek Multi-Use Trail Extension project is located at the intersection of Lake Cook Rd. and Wilke Rd. in Arlington Heights.  Improvements include modifications to the existing Wilke/Lake Cook Road traffic signal to provide pedestrian signalization on both Wilke Road and Lake Cook Road.  Also included are the installation of ADA ramps, painted crosswalks on Lake Cook Road and Wilke Road, and an eight-foot-wide multi-use trail.

The multi-use trail will extend approximately 500 feet from Lake Cook Road into the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve, safely connecting the Village of Arlington Heights bikeway system to the existing Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve trail system. This connection will provide access to the 408-acre preserve which presently has a network of four miles of crushed-gravel trails with an additional 1.2 miles currently under construction. 

This project was awarded by the Illinois Department of Transportation to the low bidder, A Lamp Concrete, Inc. in the amount of $265,735.25 on June 27, 2020.  Funding for this project is provided by the Local Technical Assistance (L-TAP) that will cover up to $198,300 of construction costs, the Invest in Cook grant that will cover 50% of the Village’s share of the construction costs not to exceed $75,000, and Village general funds.

A construction start date will be determined as soon as the Cook County permit has been approved which was submitted by the contractor on August 10, 2020.  The overall project is expected to take a total of 30 working days.

The Buffalo Creek Multi-Use Trail Extension project is a long awaited project for the Village of Arlington Heights and was made possible by the coordination efforts of the Village of Arlington Heights and with the cooperation of the Lake County Forest Preserve and Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways.

For constructions questions or comments please contact Village of Arlington Heights Civil Engineer, Michael Hepner, at mhepner@vah.com or 847-368-5261.