Route 45 Underpass Opens
December 30, 2021 10:48 AM
Millennium Trail–Route 45 Underpass Opens
The Lake County Forest Preserves completed a new underpass and trail extension that safely connects Raven Glen and Ethel's Woods forest preserves in Antioch for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians. The project includes a 145-foot concrete pedestrian tunnel under Route 45 just north of Miller Road, and 0.8 miles of new paved and gravel trails to join the two preserves via the Millennium Trail and Greenway.
"The new trail tunnel combines these two neighboring preserves, divided by a busy U.S. highway, and creates a greenway corridor for improved land management and expanded outdoor recreation opportunities," said Randy Seebach, director of planning and land preservation at the Lake County Forest Preserves.
The Millennium Trail–Route 45 underpass project is partially funded by a federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The TAP grant covers 80% of total construction costs, Seebach said. "We received more than $3.8 million in federal funding assistance for the project," Seebach said. "The project features the longest of nine tunnels in the forest preserves' extensive trail system. It was built to accommodate IDOT's future plans to widen the current two-lane stretch of Route 45 in that area, which will eventually be a four-lane road with a median and turn lane at Miller Road."
"We have had success working with regional and federal agencies to help fund our larger trail projects through grant programs," said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. "Forming partnerships to create large adjoining open spaces and to improve public access and trail connections are important aspects of our agency's 100-year Vision and Strategic Plan," Kyle said.
The underpass is a crucial element of the Lake County Forest Preserves planned extension of the Millennium Trail and Greenway, a 41-mile regional trail connecting central, western and northern portions of Lake County to the Des Plaines River Trail. Today, nearly 33 miles of the Millennium Trail are open to hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. The trail currently connects 10 preserves and 10 municipalities. When complete, it will link 13 schools, 12 municipalities, 18 parks, and 12 forest preserves. View completed sections of the Millennium Trail at LCFPD.org/maps.
The underpass is a welcome addition to the improvements at Ethel's Woods, which opened to the public in winter 2019. The preserve has a 1.4-mile gravel loop trail and four scenic overlooks that take advantage of gently rolling hills and unobstructed views. A short 0.6-mile section of the Millennium Trail will run along the western edge of the preserve. To learn more and view the preserve's interactive trail map, visit LCFPD.org/Ethels-Woods.
Raven Glen's 575 acres of rolling hills and its 33-acre lake make it a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The preserve has two separate entrances and trail systems divided by the lake. The main entrance has a 2.1-mile gravel trail for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing, a separate grass trail for horseback riding only, and a 0.4-mile woodland walk for hiking only. Raven Glen's west entrance offers a 2.12-mile trail for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. Trails east and west of the lake do not connect. To learn more and view the preserve's interactive trail map, visit LCFPD.org/Raven-Glen.