Nicor Natural Gas Pipeline Relocation & Busse Woods Restoration

Nicor Gas is retiring two pipelines (built in 1958 and 1970) that cut through the Busse Forest Nature Preserve at Busse Woods. They will reconstruct these pipelines along the I-90 corridor. While this project will result in the loss of trees along the northern edge of Busse Woods, over time, the old pipeline route through the Nature Preserve will restore itself, benefiting wildlife by creating a continuous stretch of healthy woodland.

Learn more about the impacts to Busse Woods below. Please contact Nicor Gas at 630-388-3333 for questions about construction-related issues.

Construction work impacting Busse Woods will begin in early March 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in August 2021, weather permitting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the pipeline located?

The old pipeline route travels southeast from Golf Rd along the I-90 corridor, cutting into Busse Forest Nature Preserve near Picnic Grove #3, then resuming along the I-90 corridor to Arlington Heights Rd.

The new pipeline route will travel southeast along the I-90 corridor from Golf Rd to Arlington Heights Rd.

Left: Current Nicor Natural Gas Pipeline Alignment. Right: New Pipeline Alignment.

How does this benefit the Forest Preserves?

By retiring the pipelines that currently cut through a section of high-quality oak woods in the Busse Forest Nature Preserve, the old pipeline route will restore itself, benefiting wildlife by creating a continuous stretch of healthy woodland. This project follows a plan created in cooperation with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and other environmental agencies.

Nicor Gas is paying the Forest Preserves a total of $4.3 million in tree mitigation, license and other fees, to retire the old pipelines and construct the new pipelines along the I-90 corridor. The majority of this money will be used for ecological restoration work at Busse Woods and other sites across the Forest Preserves, and some is earmarked for picnic shelter repairs and wayfinding signage improvements.

Why couldn’t Nicor Gas replace the pipelines along the old route?

New pipeline standards widen the access corridor easement on a site from the current 25 feet to 66 feet. This expansion through Busse Forest Nature Preserve would have caused more ecological damage than the new route along the I-90 corridor.

What will happen to the old pipelines and pipeline route?

Nicor Gas will use an industry approved, environmentally safe process called “pipeline abandonment grouting” to fill in the pipeline, allowing minimal disruption to this area. This process avoids the environmental impacts and costs of excavating and removing the old pipeline.

Over time, the old pipeline route through the Nature Preserve will restore itself, benefitting wildlife by creating a continuous stretch of healthy woodland.

What will the new pipeline route look like?

To establish the new pipeline route along I-90, Nicor must remove hundreds of existing trees. Once construction is complete, the route will be maintained as a natural looking “high mowed” corridor to allow Nicor Gas to access the pipeline area and to prevent woody vegetation from establishing.

Will the project close local roads or Forest Preserves trails?

No. Larger construction vehicles will use Arlington Heights Road and Golf Road to access the work being done in the Forest Preserves. Although these vehicles may take an extra few minutes to enter or leave, compared to a car, there will be no road closures. Nicor pick-up trucks and light vehicles will enter Busse Forest-North on Forest Preserves access roads, but will only impact trail users at the crossing like other vehicular traffic. No trails will be closed due to the pipeline construction work.

How will the project impact wildlife?

The Forest Preserves has worked with Nicor Gas and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to minimize wildlife impacts during construction. Nicor Gas has committed to best management practices such as the use of timber mats in access routes and staging areas, and segregation of topsoil to be returned to existing stratification after excavation.

The company will have an environmental specialist on site during construction to help mitigate and address any issues that may come up, and staff from the Forest Preserves department of resource management are helping oversee the project. It will not be possible to address all issues, and there will be some short-term negative impacts to the project area along the I-90 corridor. Long term, the Forest Preserves anticipates a healthier, continuous ecosystem in the Busse Forest Nature Preserve with the relocation of these pipelines, benefiting the wildlife that utilize this woodland.