Great Western Trail (Illinois)
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The Great Western Trail is a rail trail in Illinois and Iowa.
The western-most, and older, section of the Great Western Trail is located between western St. Charles in Kane County and eastern Sycamore in DeKalb County. This section was right-of-way that was abandoned in 1977. The 18-mile (29 km) crushed-stone path traverses unincorporated rural townships, natural wetlands, some restored prairies, and farmland. The trail also passes through Virgil and Lily Lake and parallels Illinois Route 64.
The newer of the two sections, between Villa Park and West Chicago in DuPage County, is made up of right-of-way that was abandoned piecemeal throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. As the railway was abandoned, the government of DuPage County made upgrades to the path, and between 1990 through 1992, the trail was converted from a rail grade to a bicycle trail. The 12-mile (19 km) crushed stone path crosses some farmland and suburban areas. At the east end of the trail is a restored former CGW depot building. The Great Western trail also was extended to make a connection with the Illinois Prairie Path in 1995. In 1998, a new bridge was built over Interstate 355, while the next year, a new bridge was built over the West Branch of the DuPage River.
The trail has future plans for an extension west of Route 59 to Sassafras Drive in West Chicago. In 2010 embankments that supported a bridge in Lombard, IL have been demolished in preparation for a pedestrian overpass. The project will consist of three bridges. Grace St., Union Pacific railroad right of way, and St. Charles Rd., are a part of this project. This project was completed in 2013.
The Great Western Trail is designated as DuPage County Highway 55 for its entire length.
- DuPage County Department of Economic Development and Transportation Planning, Tylin International, Bascor et al. (July 2003). "Proposed Improvement Plan for the Existing DuPage County Trail System" (PDF). Retrieved 2005-12-28.
- DuPage County (2005-03-31). "Listing of DuPage County Highways". Retrieved 2006-08-08.
- Friends of the Great Western Trails
- Map of the Illinois segments of the Great Western Trail and local trail links