A pedestrian bridge over the DuPage River was set in place in mid-August as work continues on a Forest Preserve District trail connection project along Black Road.
The project will provide a safer way for walkers, runners and bicyclists to cross Interstate 55 and the DuPage River while traveling between two Forest Preserve Trails: the Rock Run Greenway Trail in Joliet and the DuPage River Trail in Shorewood. Both trails cross Black Road.
While sections of the DuPage River bridge are now in place, work is continuing and the bridge is not open for public use. A pedestrian bridge over Interstate 55 will be installed in the coming months and trail connections along Black Road also need to be constructed before the project will be completed. Work also needs to continue on retaining walls and bridge decking.
Path users should obey the "trail closed" signs that are posted in the construction areas.
Grants from the federally funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program are providing 80 percent of the project's cost, with the Forest Preserve contributing 20 percent as a local share.
ITEP is a competitive program for projects that promote alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel. And CMAQ is designed to improve air quality and mitigate congestion.
The project is contracted through the Illinois Department of Transportation and the work is being performed by D Construction.
In addition to the 289-foot bridge over the DuPage River and a 232-foot bridge over I-55, the project will include new asphalt trail segments along both the south and north sides of Black Road and east of I-55. Traffic signal modifications also will be added at East Frontage Road to make it safer for people to cross Black Road from north to south. The pedestrian bridges are being installed on the south side of Black Road.
The Black Road trail connection project also will provide a critical link to more than 50 miles of regional trails including the I&M Canal Trail and the Old Plank Road Trail.
"We've long focused on providing access to forest preserves and linking people, places and nature," said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve's chief operating officer. "With the connection of these two regional trails, folks in Shorewood, Joliet, Crest Hill, Rockdale and towns farther away are linked to each other and to additional regional and local trails, schools, colleges, libraries and places to shop, eat and explore."
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