Officials Celebrate Projects Along West Branch of DuPage River
(Sept. 27, 2016) — The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, DuPage County and City of Warrenville hosted a news conference and ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to announce the completion of a series of flood control and water-quality improvement projects along the West Branch of the DuPage River, as well as the replacement and expansion of the Warrenville Road bridge.
Highlighting the environmental benefits of the projects, Forest Preserve District President Joe Cantore said, “The combined projects will not only reduce potential flooding for residents but also significantly improve the river’s ecosystem. The West Branch DuPage River valley is already realizing improved water quality and flow, greater water retention and longer release periods, and increased and diversified river and wetland habitats for fish, mussels, mammals and waterfowl.”
“We’re marking these accomplishments together today because DuPage County and our partners realized an opportunity to minimize the burden on residents by constructing portions of these projects in tandem,” said DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin. “We were also able to save taxpayers’ funds through this exemplary intergovernmental cooperation.”
DuPage County’s Stormwater Management Department and Division of Transportation (DuDOT) each recently completed projects to improve the West Branch DuPage River at Warrenville Road in Warrenville. Stormwater Management’s West Branch DuPage River Flood Control and Re-Meander Project involved the extension of an existing flood control berm and path along River Road, habitat improvements and a re-meander of the river to improve conveyance.
For Stormwater Management, this is the final phase of nearly $7 million in flood control and water quality improvements to the West Branch DuPage River, funded through federal, state and local funds. Past projects included flood protection at Bower Elementary School and along River Road in Warrenville, wetland restoration in McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville and in-stream and streambank restoration throughout a more than three-mile stretch of the river, completed in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
“This area endured a devastating flood in 2008 that prompted DuPage County to identify flood control solutions. At this time, the County and the District were also managing the ongoing thorium removal project and NOAA-funded water quality projects, so we saw an opportunity to marry the flood control and water quality aspects of these projects,” explained DuPage County Stormwater Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “As a result, we now have a roughly eight-mile stretch of the DuPage River that is an amenity for residents – not only does it protect nearby properties from overbank flooding, but it supports recreation and aquatic habitat. We are very lucky in what we could do in this area.”
In conjunction with the most recent Stormwater project, DuDOT used a $3.7 million grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation with a local match to replace the Warrenville Road Bridge, which was at the end of its serviceable life.
“We knew that the Warrenville Road Bridge was in need of replacement, but, instead of just putting a new one in as-is, we were able to work with our Stormwater department on a project that had multiple benefits for the local community,” said DuPage Transportation Committee Chairman Don Puchalski. “The new, wider bridge not only supports transportation needs, but it also aligns better with the river to reduce pinch-points that may lead to flooding upstream.”
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel explained the importance of these improvements to local residents, businesses and schools, many of whom saw repetitive flooding prior to construction of the projects.
“These projects will contribute to a better quality of life for Warrenville residents and businesses for many decades to come,” said Brummel.
Following the ceremony, DuPage County staff led a tour of the projects to explain their flood control, water quality and transportation features.
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Mary Mitros, DuPage County Stormwater Management
DuPage Transportation Committee Chairman Don Puchalski, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County President Joe Cantore, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel and DuPage County Stormwater Committee Chairman Jim Zay (left to right) celebrate the close of multiple projects along the West Branch of the DuPage River.
West Branch of the DuPage River near Warrenville