Kendall County Forest Preserve District OKs funds for Route 71 trail project

Multi-use trail would connect downtown Oswego, downtown Yorkville and county forest preserves

The Kendall County Board, acting in their dual role as the county forest preserve district commission, has approved a local contribution of $76,000 for an Illinois Department of Transportation project to install a multi-use trail along Route 71 that would connect downtown Yorkville to downtown Oswego.

Set to finish construction in 2023, the trail would be installed along Route 71 from Route 126 in Yorkville east to Orchard Road in Oswego as part of IDOT’s widening of the two-lane highway to five lanes.

Forest Preserve District President Dave Guritz called the trail project an “important piece” for increasing connectivity between the district’s different preserves along the major state highway.

The project would allow “residents to take a bike from downtown Oswego all the way to downtown Yorkville and visit these preserve areas,” Guritz said during a forest preserve district commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 4.

Installing trails along Route 71 as part of widening the highway has been in discussion for years. IDOT approached the county last fall about committing local funds for the project.

Total cost estimates for the trail and local contributions from Oswego and Yorkville are for now unknown. Bradley Duncan, a project engineer for IDOT, said in an email that estimates would be available later this month.

County commissioners showed approval for their project, unanimously voting for their contribution during a meeting May 4 in Yorkville.

“I think it’s a great idea to keep bikes and pedestrians off the major highways,” said County Board Member Stephen DeBolt. “That’s a very busy road so I think safety-wise it’s a good thing.”

Contractor bidding for the project will begin later this year, with construction expected to last between 2021 and 2023, according to IDOT.

Lucas Robinson

Lucas Robinson covers politics, courts, schools and the pandemic in Kendall County and Yorkville for Shaw Media. His work has previously appeared in the Chicago Reader, the Buenos Aires Times, Open Secrets and USAToday. He grew up in Muncie, Indiana.