MORTON, Illinois (WMBD) – Repairs are needed for part of the Morton Bike Trail, which is part of the 26-mile Rock Island Trail that passes through several communities in central Illinois.
The bike path begins at the corner of Jackson, Jefferson, and Detroit streets. This is a three mile trail going west and connecting with the E. Peoria River Trail.
A temporary fix was put in place after a storm washed away portions of the trail several years ago, but it’s been two years and no permanent fix is in sight.
“It should be a nice, smooth, well-maintained trail that is accessible not only to cyclists but walkers, people with disabilities,” said Brian Gorsich, chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Volunteer Community Council.
Gorsich advocates cycling for people with multiple sclerosis. He said there had been a 200% increase in the number of people using the Rock Island bike path.
“Traffic will have to stop so that a person with an accessibility need can cross the path with their device, which causes a bottleneck. People get frustrated, ”he said.
Gorsich says he’s tried to make progress on fixing the trail, but continues to do the trick.
“There were points of the finger with IDOT and Park Districts [as to] who is responsible for maintaining the trail, ”he said.
Cyclist Lisa Preston takes this path a few times a week.
“You are constantly afraid of meeting someone on the part of the cycle path. Sometimes if it is really crowded people will try to cut where it is broken and it is very dangerous. I walked there once and it’s very unstable, ”she said.
She went on to say that it’s an accident waiting to happen.
“It’s a huge safety hazard, it’s our community, it’s a healthy community, it’s a wonderful path we have, and it’s just an area I don’t know about. ‘there is a plan to fix it. And again, I would just be devastated if I saw someone get hurt, ”Preston said.
Paul Wappel, IDOT’s Public Information Officer, sent a response regarding the damaged portion of the trail. He said it was causing problems with the collapse of the shoulder of the road, so the guardrail was installed. He said IDOT sent a letter to the Morton Park District in April 2019 stating that guardrail maintenance was their responsibility.
The Morton Park District declined to comment at this time.