McDowell Grove entrance now open after bridge replacement

  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the new two-lane entrance bridge at McDowell Grove Forest Preserve near Naperville.

    A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the new two-lane entrance bridge at McDowell Grove Forest Preserve near Naperville. Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

 
 
Updated 5/25/2018 2:32 PM

After roughly nine months of construction, a two-lane entrance bridge has opened at McDowell Grove Forest Preserve near Naperville.

The main entrance, a parking lot and a section of the West Branch DuPage River Regional Trail that were closed during the bridge construction project also have reopened to the public.

 

"We're happy and definitely proud of the opening of this bridge," said Tony Martinez Jr., spokesman for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. "Not only will it give easier access, but it will be a safer access for visitors to the preserve."

The previous entrance bridge at McDowell Grove was about 70 years old and critically deficient, officials said. Because it was a one-lane bridge, it was shared by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists that used it to cross the West Branch of the DuPage River.

"It wasn't an ideal situation," Martinez said.

The old bridge also had a 5-ton weight limit, which restricted access for emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Work on the $1.96 million bridge replacement project started in August 2017.

The new bridge has two lanes for cars and trucks and a separate elevated trail with a barrier wall for pedestrians and bicycle traffic.

It provides a clear span of the river and a higher elevation, which will minimize debris buildup during floods, officials said. The project also reconfigured the entrance to eliminate a dangerous curve. In addition, the regional trail was rerouted to avoid the parking lot.

On Tuesday, the district will celebrate the opening of the bridge with a 10 a.m. a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the preserve along Raymond Drive.

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