« All News

Press Release: Major Renovations Begin on Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Des Plaines Trail

A person biking on the Des Plaines Trail.

$7.9 million investment includes a new bridge over Lawrence Avenue

November 3, 2022 — The Forest Preserves of Cook County will begin construction preparation next week for a major renovation project on a 1.2-mile segment of the Des Plaines Trail between Bryn Mawr Avenue in Chicago and Lawrence Avenue in Norridge. Construction for two more sections is set to launch next spring, making it easier and more enjoyable to use 5.4 miles of the trail.

“This investment is a continuation of our work with partners to improve the Des Plaines Trail, one of our most popular trail systems,” Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall said. “The more than 350 miles of trails throughout the Forest Preserves of Cook County offer easy access to get out in nature and promote healthy living and greener methods of transportation.”

Work on the Bryn Mawr-Lawrence segment will repair and upgrade the unpaved trail surface and add approximately 1,000 feet of boardwalk in a section near the river that frequently floods to raise the path profile above the 100-year river flood elevation. Plans also include the installation of a pedestrian bridge taking trail users over Lawrence Avenue.

Currently, the Des Plaines Trail goes under Lawrence Avenue via an underpass, which frequently experiences flooding. Signal and ADA improvements are also part of this project at the intersection of East River Road and Lawrence Avenue.

Vegetation and tree removal in specific locations begin next week in preparation for the new construction. To safely complete the improvement project, trail users should expect periodic and full closure restrictions as necessary between Catherine Chevalier Woods and Robinson Woods. The anticipated completion date for this project is September 2023.

The project is estimated to cost $7.9 million, with 80 percent being federally funded by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program and the locally programmed Transportation Alternatives Program. The remaining 20 percent of the project is being funded by the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways using Motor Fuel Tax dollars.

This project follows the 2021 construction of a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge over the Des Plaines River at Bryn Mawr Avenue that connected Rosemont’s entertainment district to the trail. Up next is construction beginning in the spring of 2023 on two other segments, led by local municipal partners: the City of Park Ridge (Touhy Avenue to Devon Avenue), the Village of Rosemont (Devon Avenue to Bryn Mawr Avenue). 

In 2023, the Village of Schiller Park (Lawrence Avenue to Irving Park Road) segment will advance into the preparation of construction documents.

These investments are a result of a trail evaluation by the Des Plaines Trail Advisory Group, which convened the Forest Preserves of Cook County and local municipalities and partners to assess the trail and work to implement a possible $70 million in trail improvements from Touhy to North avenues to address issues like flooding, trail reconstruction, safety improvements at roadways and major railroad crossings, and other potential new trail connections.

The Des Plaines Trail System includes a total of 28.4 miles of paved and unpaved trail through more than a dozen forest preserves in multiple municipalities including Chicago, Northbrook, Park Ridge, River Grove, Rosemont and Schiller Park. As part of the project, the Forest Preserves is planning to officially change the name of the trail to the Des Plaines River Trail to highlight the route’s path along the river. Cook County residents may submit a public comment at this time.


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.