Heads up, the much needed bridge repair at eastern end of Centennial Trail is being done. However, there is no signage indicating you can't get through (traveling eastbound) until you get right up to it, unless I missed it. It's 3.5 mi. to go back and find another way! I was able to barely get around fencing Sunday to avoid adding another 7+ mi. to my century ride, but this is not recommended, particularly if they are working on bridge. Anyone have a good workaround to avoid this until late Fall? (Edit: I guess the I&M trail on other side of canal is best option, and I think that trail is paved there.) They do have closure listed here: http://fpdcc.com/preserves-and-trails/construction-closures-work
Forgot to snap pic on trail at south end... North end pic (Willow Springs Road on left is open):
As you stated, the I&M is your best option. Yes, that segment of the I&M is paved. You may cross back to the Centennial at either Rt. 83 or Lemont Rd although Rt. 83 is preferable (safer). Rt. 83 also affords easy access to the west end of the Cal-Sag Trail at Main & 83.