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Southern IL Bike Trail Finished 14 Years After Groundbreaking

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois bike trail has been completed nearly 10 years after it was dedicated.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials announced Friday that an at-grade railroad crossing has opened with the cooperation of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

That removes the need for a detour and allows for uninterrupted passage on the 47-mile trail between Harrisburg and Karnak.

It follows the route of a railroad originally started in 1872 by Civil War generals Ambrose Burnside and Green Berry Raum. The last owner of the railroad donated land to the state in 1991.

Construction of the $7 million trail began in 1997 and it was dedicated in 2001. It travels through the Shawnee National Forest and over the Cache River.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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