Will County Forest Preserve installs pedestrian bridge over I-55

The 300-foot bridge will connect forest preserve trails in Joliet and Shorewood along Black Road

will county forest preserve, bridge, trails, Joliet, Shorewood

The Will County Forest Preserve is installing a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 55 that will link two trails and provide safer passage along Black Road from Joliet to Shorewood.

The district installed the 300-foot bridge on the south side of Black Road on Sept. 22, according to a news release.

Finishing touches on the bridge will continue, including asphalt and concrete trail connections, retaining walls and traffic signal adjustments at East Frontage Road. Work on the bridge is expected to be finished next month. Until then, the trails will be closed in the work area.

“We’ve long focused on providing access to forest preserves and linking people, places and nature,” Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s executive director, said in a statement. “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.”

The new bridge over I-55 is the second pedestrian bridge to be installed along Black Road. The first was installed last year over the DuPage River.

Grants from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program paid for about 80% of the project. The forest preserve paid for the rest.

The district had been planning the project since 1999, but did not receive grant funding until 2014, according to the release.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.