The new Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) Bridge over Interstate 80 in New Lenox is up and running, and the old bridge has been removed just in time for the path’s 20th anniversary.
The modern, more aesthetically pleasing bow truss bridge was installed in two phases this spring. The Illinois Department of Transportation replaced the old bridge, which dated back to 1964, as part of its plan to improve and widen the I-80/Route 30 interchange sometime in the future.
The bridge will make trips on the OPRT even more appealing to runners, hikers and bicyclists, said Ralph Schultz, chief operating officer for the Forest Preserve District of Will County, which owns and manages portions of the trail along with six other governmental agencies.
The OPRT has been a popular path ever since the first 12-mile section opened two decades ago on July 19, 1997. That first trail section stretched from Western Avenue in Park Forest to the Forest Preserve District’s Hickory Creek Preserve — Hickory Creek Junction in Mokena. Subsequent trail additions pushed the path west into New Lenox and Joliet. The most recent extension brought the trail a mile farther east to Chicago Heights for a total trail length of 22 miles.
the previous Old Plank Road Trail Bridge, which dates back to 1964
Press release Forest Preserve of Will County