Ribbon cutting set for Forest Preserve’s Black Road trail connection project

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will host a public ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at Hammel Woods – DuPage River Access in Shorewood to mark the opening of a much-anticipated trail connection along Black Road.

The trail addition links the DuPage River Trail in Hammel Woods with the Rock Run Greenway Trail in Rock Run Preserve. The $3 million project includes pedestrian bridges over the DuPage River and Interstate 55.

Ribbon cutting attendees are asked to park in the DuPage River Access parking lot, which is located east of Route 59 on the south side of Black Road. There will be a 0.2 mile walk to the DuPage River pedestrian bridge for the ceremony.

The trail connection will provide safer passage for walkers, runners and bicyclists traveling along Black Road between Joliet and Shorewood. The project also provides a critical link to more than 50 miles of regional trails including the I&M Canal TrailJoliet Junction Trail and the Old Plank Road Trail.

“We’ve long focused on providing access to forest preserves and linking people, places and nature,” said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s executive director. “With the connection of these two regional trails, folks in Shorewood, Joliet, Crest Hill, Rockdale and towns farther away are linked to each other and to additional regional and local trails, schools, colleges, libraries and places to shop, eat and explore.”

Grants from the federally funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) provided 80 percent of the project’s cost, with the Forest Preserve contributing 20 percent as a local share.

ITEP is a competitive program for projects that promote alternative transportation options, including bike and pedestrian travel. And CMAQ is designed to improve air quality and mitigate congestion. The Forest Preserve has been planning the project since 1999 but did not begin to receive grant funding until 2014 and 2015.

For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Will County, visit ReconnectWithNature.org.