Two popular Forest Preserve paths slated for major paving upgrades

Two of the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s oldest trails will be upgraded this year as the District invests $1.37 million to repave and repair the popular paths.

A 7-mile section of the Old Plank Road Trail will be repaved from Harlem Avenue in Frankfort to Schoolhouse Road in New Lenox. This section of the 22-mile trail opened 25 years ago this month. The entire Joliet Junction Trail will be repaved. This 19-year-old trail travels 4.36 miles from Theodore Marsh in Crest Hill to the I&M Canal Trail in Rockdale.

“Path users have enjoyed many years of hiking and biking on these two major trail arteries,” said Cindy Cain, the Forest Preserve’s public information officer. “But now it’s time to replace asphalt sections that have deteriorated and to repave where necessary so the paths will be in good shape for decades to come.”

Some sections of the paths will be cut out and replaced, others will receive an overlay of asphalt, said Adam Oestmann, project manager for the Forest Preserve’s Infrastructure Maintenance and Replacement Program.

“The overlay process is preferable to removing and replacing pavement because it’s more cost effective, creates less waste, and strengthens the entire trail by thickening the trail surface, hopefully leading to a longer lifespan,” he said.

Both trails also will receive ADA upgrades including slope, tactile and visual improvements at cross streets. And turf wedges will be installed to minimize edge drop-off.

Earlier this month, the Forest Preserve District’s Board of Commissioners approved trail paving contracts with McGill Construction LLC of Frankfort. The OPRT contract totaled $765,183 and the JJT contract totaled $608,378. A 2.5-mile section of the OPRT from 108th Avenue to Pfeiffer Road is owned by the Village of Frankfort and the municipality will pay for this portion of the work.

Both projects are scheduled to begin in mid- to late August and to be completed before November. But weather and other factors could delay the work. And an ongoing quarry strike could limit the availability of asphalt.

Some of the work will take place simultaneously and some will happen on one trail at a time. Trail closures will be necessary. Information about where the work is occurring will be posted on the Current Headlines section of the Forest Preserve District’s website.

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