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Lipinski hosts roundtable on closing the five-mile gap in the I&M Canal Trail (November 8, 2019)

CHICAGO—Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) brought together local governments and advocacy groups for a roundtable Thursday at the Lipinski Community Center in Justice to discuss options on how to close the five-mile gap in the I&M Canal Trail that exists between Willow Springs Road in the Village of

Willow Springs and the Chicago Portage National Historic Site in the Village of Lyons. The roundtable was scheduled to develop feasible alternatives to complete the gap in the existing Centennial Trail / I&M Canal Trail / Des Plaines River Trail system.

“As a frequent user of the I&M Canal Trail, I know it has to become one of Chicagoland’s finest amenities if we complete the extension project and close the existing gap,” said Lipinski. “Extending and improving the trail in my district will help serve as an economic development tool for local communities like Summit, Justice and Bedford Park. This is a top priority of mine and I will look for ways in the upcoming federal transportation reauthorization to advance this critical project.”

Mayors Sergio Rodriguez of Summit, Kris Wasowicz of Justice, David Brady of Bedford Park, and John Egofske of Lemont participated in the roundtable, along with representatives from the Active Transportation Alliance, Ride Illinois, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Cook County Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation and other government agencies and advocacy groups.

Discussion items included:

  • An update on the I&M Canal Trail Extension Feasibility Study
  • Agreement that the project is ready for a phase one engineering study
  • A desire to improve the I&M Canal Trail in Lemont and Joliet
  • Working with Canadian National Railroad to get a needed bridge over their tracks for the trail extension

Information about the feasibility study and options for extending the trail can be found here.

Congressman Lipinski and the roundtable group said the next course of action will be to identify funding sources to complete the phase one engineering study.