Heavy rainfall over the past several weeks means East Peoria’s River Trail of Illinois may remain closed until the middle of June, one to two weeks later than originally estimated, according to Fon du Lac Park District Director Brad Smith.
The River Trail is under construction from the CVS on Main Street to just south of Route 150, where it connects with the Morton Bike Trail.
“It will take dry weather, sun and some wind to dry out the base materials enough to allow us to access the trail with heavy equipment,” said Smith. “I hope we can begin to pave again by Tuesday, May 31.”
According to the Illinois State Water Survey, the statewide average rainfall for Illinois in April was 7.45 inches, nearly double the average rainfall of 3.83 inches. Some locations in central Illinois received as much as 10 inches during the month.
The National Weather Service at Peoria reported 4.91 inches of rainfall in May as of May 25, 1.52 inches ahead of the monthly average.
But rainfall wasn’t the only challenge faced by trail workers. They also replaced 80 feet of concrete culvert and dealt with equipment breakdowns.
“When it comes to construction projects, nothing is simple. Any time you perform this type of work problems occur. We deal with those issues as they come up.”
While Smith doesn’t expect many noticeable changes in the trail’s overall appearance, he did point out several improvements.
“We are installing concrete approaches to all bridges and concrete at all driveway crossings, and of course the new surface will be smooth and free of cracks, low wheel-rutted sections and root heaving.
“The asphalt being installed at this time is just the 2-inch base course. Once this lift is installed, the entire trail will be primed, and the second lift will be installed for a total thickness of 3.25 inches.”
That’s 1.25 inches more asphalt than the original trail had in 1990. Smith says the extra thickness will make a big difference in the life of the trail.
“I’m sure I will be very happy with the final product, as I’m sure those who use it will be. The new surface should hold up much better than the original surface.
“The trail is a heavily used facility that needs to be well maintained. The previous surface was reaching its life expectancy of 21 years and most certainly needed rehab. We do our best to provide the public with well maintained, safe facilities. The trail is no different.”