DuPage forest district to complete two regional trails

  • The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is planning to complete two regional trails within the next four years, thanks to millions of dollars in federal grant money.

    The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is planning to complete two regional trails within the next four years, thanks to millions of dollars in federal grant money. Courtesy of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

 
 
Updated 12/22/2017 5:00 PM

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will be able to spend more than $5.1 million in federal grant money to finish two regional trails within the next four years.

Municipalities have worked for decades with the forest preserve district and county government to piece together the North Central DuPage Regional Trail and the West Branch DuPage River Trail.

 

When done, the 35-mile North Central DuPage Regional Trail will connect the Illinois Prairie Path near Wayne to Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Village.

The 23-mile West Branch DuPage River Trail, meanwhile, begins at the North Central DuPage Regional Trail in Hanover Park and runs south through DuPage. It becomes the DuPage River Trail in Will County.

Each regional trail is just one segment away from being complete, but constructing both segments will cost millions.

So the forest preserve district started applying for federal grants in 2015 and since has been awarded several.

As a result, the district is poised to get $1.65 million in federal money to pursue a $2.19 million project to finish the North Central DuPage Regional Trail. An additional $3.5 million in federal money is available for the district to do a $4.45 million project to complete the West Branch DuPage River Trail.

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"These regional trails have been a priority for the forest preserve for years," said Jessica Ortega, the district's landscape architect supervisor. "So we're really excited that we've got this opportunity to move these projects forward."

The first project is the completion of the West Branch DuPage River Trail. It calls for construction of a 0.7-mile trail and a bridge that will carry pedestrians and cyclists over the West Branch of the DuPage River and Roosevelt Road near West Chicago.

"It's the most complicated segment," Ortega said. "That's why it's the last one."

The segment is estimated to cost $4.45 million because of the bridge construction. The district will need to provide $941,866 for its share of the cost.

Construction of the segment is scheduled to begin in 2020. First, the district needs to finish a trail segment that runs from West DuPage Woods near West Chicago to Winfield Mounds near Winfield.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Meanwhile, the project that will complete the North Central DuPage Regional Trail is scheduled to begin in 2019.

The roughly 1.5 mile-segment will begin in a Bartlett neighborhood and run roughly parallel along Munger Road within Pratt's Wayne Woods near Wayne. It will end at the Elgin branch of the Illinois Prairie Path, just north of Smith Road.

To receive the federal grant money, the district must chip in $538,000 to help pay for the project.

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