The Chainlink

This Discussion is to provide up-to-date information regarding the I&M Centennial Trail. As you ride it, provide a brief report here.

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I'd like to hear some current information on this trail.  I've ridden it many times to the LaSalle-Peru area to visit my sister and many of my friends from before I moved to Chicago.

The last I heard, following the high rain in April, is that may parts of the I&M Canal are washed out, and that planning on following this trail may not be a good plan.

I have someone riding up from New Orleans and following the Illinois River to Chicago and I've told her to avoid the canal path.

Centennial Trail landscape architect to meet with cycling enthusiasts


Who:    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)

What:   Second public informational meeting to discuss Centennial Trail improvements

When:  6 p.m on Thursday, June 27, 2013


Where: Willow Springs Community Center, 8156 Archer Ave., Willow Springs


The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) will be hosting a public meeting with a landscape architect to discuss the future design of Centennial Trail between Willow Springs Road and Route 83. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 27 at the Willow Springs Community Center, 8156 Archer Ave., Willow Springs.


During the trail’s closure, which is expected to last 30 months, users are encouraged to take advantage of the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal Trail which is located approximately 350 feet to the south. Ample parking is available near the I & M Trail.


This portion of Centennial Trail is located on MWRD property southwest of the McCook Reservoir, a component of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan. The first phase of McCook Reservoir is due for completion in 2017, and when fully functional in 2029, it will have a total capacity of 10 billion gallons to capture combined sewer overflows that currently discharge to area waterways and cause sewer back-ups. It will also provide $90 million per year in flood control benefits to 3.1 million people living in 37 communities.


Although the MWRD recognizes the inconvenience to those who enjoy this outdoor amenity, the MWRD hopes trail users realize the critical need for this project to the 3.1 million people it will serve.


The MWRD will also consider written comments before making final restoration plans; please submit comments by email to or write to Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Office of Public Affairs, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60611.


Additional information about the project can be found at


I ride the I & M Canal trail often from Channahon to Seneca. Yet to go on it this year as it is not a fun trail when the weather has been bad. Better when the trees are in full bloom. Plenty of wildlife to see. Ducks, turtles, heron, cardinals & deer. From Joliet Iron Works to the start of the Centennial Trail at 135th/Romeo rd is the best section.

There is a washout between N. Utica and Ottawa.  There is a path down to a stream that you can shimmy across on some branches while pushing your bike across.  Or you can just walk across the stream. 

The section between Marseilles and Ottawa is marked as closed.  However, traveling east you can get about halfway to Marseilles  before the downed trees get pretty annoying.  I'd leave the trail at the railroad spur near the ADM property and follow the adjacent road the rest of the way to Marseilles.  Then at the little league park, you can get back on the trail.

Rode Joliet to Ottawa this weekend. The trail is OK almost half of the way to Morris, even though it's narrow and weedy at places. West of Morris to Seneca it's, basically, a single track, but still rideable. Seneca to Ottawa... better take roads. There's a 3.25 m stretch on the US-6, but it has a shoulder with a rumble strip separating it from the (light) traffic. Here's the route I'd recommend.



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