Work to build a new eight-foot-wide asphalt pathway through Evanston’s Ladd Arboretum starts next week.

The project is funded by the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program and city general obligation bond funds. The new path will provide year-round use and ADA Accessibility to the pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users.

The path project proved controversial earlier this year, with some residents pushing for keeping the crushed stone surface used on the existing path, but city officials saying the path needed to be asphalt or a similar surface to be easy to plow in the winter and be less prone to flooding in the summer so it would be usable by all residents year round.

City staff suggested using permeable concrete as a surface that could look somewhat like crushed stone while being easy to plow, but after it turned out that any of the non-asphalt options would cost local taxpayers roughly four times as much as asphalt, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl ended up casting a rare tie-breaking vote in favor of the asphalt option.

During construction, the arboretum path will be closed for public use. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Lorusso Cement Contractors, Inc., 1090 Carolina Drive, West Chicago, is the contractor on the project. Terra Engineering, Ltd., will oversee construction activities for the city. Terra’s resident engineer, Tamara Baucom, can be reached at 312-758-5116.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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