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Visitors Reminded to Steer Clear of Areas Closed for McDowell Grove Bridge Replacement Project

(Aug. 16, 2017) — Beginning this week, bulldozers, excavators, cranes and semi-trucks are onsite at McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville as part of the entrance bridge replacement project. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is asking visitors to avoid the main entrance, parking lot and a section of the West Branch DuPage River Regional Trail, which are closed for the next six months for the project.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation and patience during this project,” said Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore. “Closing the area allows us to not only safeguard visitors from the construction but also complete the project efficiently and on schedule.”

“It may be tempting to sneak through the protective fencing, but to ensure everyone’s safety during this project, we ask visitors to please stay away from the closed construction area,” said Forest Preserve District Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli, District 5. 

During construction, visitors can reach McDowell Grove via turf and limestone trails from the east, south and north and fish on Mud Lake and along 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 need to take a 6.8-mile detour through Naperville. From the north end of McDowell Grove, the detour goes 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 crosses Raymond Drive and reconnects with the West Branch DuPage River Trail near Fawell Dam.

While this work is under way, the public is invited to visit the District's other nearby forest preserves, including Springbrook Prairie, Warrenville Grove, Blackwell, Herrick Lake and St. James Farm.

Work began Aug. 1 to replace the preserve’s 70-year-old one-lane entrance bridge with a new two-lane bridge for cars and trucks and a separate elevated trail with a barrier wall for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. 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. It will also create a clear span of the river and higher elevation to minimize debris buildup during floods. 

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 62 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 and Instagram pages.

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