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updated: 9/11/2012 2:50 PM

Forest preserve set to cooperate with Addison access road

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DuPage County Forest Preserve officials are poised to allow Addison to use forest preserve land for a temporary access road that some residents have opposed.

The district would allow Addison to use .06 acres of land, or 2,500 square feet, from Cricket Creek Forest Preserve for part of an access road that would run through the 116-home Kingery West subdivision.

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Currently, there is only one frontage road that permits entrance and exit from the subdivision, southwest of Lake Street and Route 83. That's because the Fullerton Avenue bridge, which provides access to the subdivision, is under construction for the next 15 months or so.

In June, about a dozen subdivision residents argued both for and against the access road, dubbed The Bruce/Central Avenue Connector. Those opposed argued the road would compromise pedestrian safety by connecting local roads to busy thoroughfares and damage natural land.

Others in favor said the road would save them gas money, since there is currently a four-mile detour for subdivision motorists who want to head north on Route 83. Some said the detour can triple certain commute times.

In addition, emergency vehicles that respond to the area must open a locked gate on an emergency access road. The new road would allow the residents easier access to both Lake Street and Route 83.

Addison Village Manager John Berley said in June that forest preserve land desired for the project would make the road safer, but Addison would still go ahead with the project even if the commissioners reject the request; the road instead would have to be built at angles that are more difficult to navigate, he said.

That is why on Tuesday forest preserve staff advised commissioners to approve the project, adding that "it is not a high quality area" of pristine land. No residents spoke on either side of the issue during Tuesday's meeting.

"I just want to emphasize this is not something we are initiating ... this is the place where they thought it would be most efficient and the safest for people in the area," forest preserve President D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr. said. "We are cooperating with them because it's a health and safety issue."

The Bruce/Central Avenue Connector would cost Addison and Addison Township between $50,000 and $75,000 to build, officials said in June. The 375-foot long street would be 22 feet wide, with 1-foot-wide shoulders.

Addison officials said they would remove it and restore the forest preserve land after the Fullerton Avenue bridge is repaired and operational.

"This will be for a limited time period and the property will be restored in the manner we desire," Pierotti said.

Commissioners Michael Formento and Linda Painter said they were concerned about whether Addison already had funds budgeted to restore the land, with Painter suggesting the funds be put in an escrow account.

"I would prefer the escrow because we have control," she said. "If the money is just appropriated, who knows what might happen when we're not watching."

Forest preserve attorneys said they would work out financial details with Addison before the issue comes up for a vote at the next commission meeting.

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