West Branch Riverway Trail
In 1992, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County entered into a tri-party, intergovernmental agreement with the city of Naperville and the Naperville Park District concerning the construction of a riverway, greenbelt and walkway located along the West Branch of the DuPage River that extended from McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville and south towards the border of Will County. The agreement’s primary goal established a continuous regional trail along the West Branch in conjunction with Naperville’s efforts to designate a bikeway through its downtown area. The proposed trail would provide access from DuPage County’s forest preserves and trails north of McDowell Grove to the DuPage River Trail located south of downtown Naperville.
Various terms and conditions of the agreement were last amended in 2011, including those pertaining to the proposed construction of the West Branch Riverway Trail between Ogden and Jefferson Avenues. Under the agreement, the Forest Preserve District was assigned the responsibility to design and construct a one-mile segment of the trail system. The District completed a portion of this regional trail system within McDowell Grove Forest Preserve, north of Ogden Avenue.
The total cost of the project, including such things as land acquisition, engineering design, permitting fees, utility relocations, and construction, will be approximately $2.0 million. The Naperville Park District will be responsible for future maintenance and related costs for the completed trail. The city of Naperville will be responsible for all law-enforcement activities on the trail.
Construction of the trail was completed in the summer of 2012. Final site restoration and approval is anticipated in July 2013. In accordance with the tri-party intergovernmental agreement, the Naperville Park District will take over all maintenance activities along the trail from Ogden Avenue to Jefferson Avenue. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will be responsible for trail maintenance north of Ogden Avenue.
The West Branch Riverway Trail will run west along the West Branch of the DuPage River. From its northern trailhead located in McDowell Grove Forest Preserve, the trail will extend south towards an underpass beneath Ogden Avenue — a high-volume regional arterial highway — to allow trail users safe passage. South of Ogden Avenue, the trail will then continue on a Forest Preserve District greenway that is adjacent to a commercial center and the River Shore Condominium Association of Naperville. Within this particular reach, the District will construct retaining walls and guard rails for safety purposes in several locations. South of the BN & SF rail line, the trail will extend through Naperville Park District’s Wil-O-Way Commons Park.
The 10-foot wide, one-mile trail will be surfaced with asphalt. Bicycles will be allowed on the new trail to the north of Jefferson Avenue, which is clearly marked by the City of Naperville as an on-street bike route. It should be noted that the Naperville Riverwalk, a scenic, downtown walkway is limited to pedestrian access only.
Image © FPDDC
An ariel map depicts the plans for a trail, along the West Branch of the DuPage River, through the city of Naperville.