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McDowell Grove Remains Open Through July Due to Extended Timeline

(May 25, 2017) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will close the main entrance and parking lot of McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville and a section of the West Branch DuPage River Trail on Aug. 1, 2017 for approximately six months to replace the preserve’s 70-year-old single-lane entrance bridge. The preserve will remain open to visitors through July 2017 due to an extended project timeline.

The new two-lane bridge will accommodate cars and trucks and have a separate elevated trail with a barrier wall for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, said District Planning manager Kevin Horsfall. A clear span of the river and higher elevation will minimize debris buildup during floods. The $1.96 million project will also reconfigure the entrance to eliminate a dangerous curve and reroute the West Branch DuPage River trail to avoid the parking lot.

During construction visitors will be able to reach McDowell Grove via turf and limestone trails from the east, south and north and fish along Mud Lake and the West Branch DuPage River away from the work site, but hikers and bikers who want to cross the preserve via the West Branch DuPage River Trail will need to take a 6.8-mile C-shaped detour through Naperville. From the north end of McDowell Grove, the detour will go west along Ferry Road, southwest on the Illinois Prairie Path-Aurora Branch, and then along Fairway Drive, Campbell Drive and Bruce Lane to Brookdale Road, where it will cross Raymond Drive and reconnect with the West Branch DuPage River Trail near Fawell Dam.

“The Board of Commissioners believes closing McDowell Grove during the bridge replacement is the best choice in terms of public safety, cost and efficiency,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore. “This work has been needed for a long time, and the new bridge will be much safer for all to use, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.”

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 145 miles of trails, five education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube pages. 

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