Trestle Bridge, Officially Open Parking on Kickapoo Rail Trail | New

OAKWOOD – People using the Kickapoo Rail Trail between Oakwood and Danville will now have a safer option to park their vehicles.

20-vehicle parking is now available, making it easier for people to access the trail, including the quarter-mile railroad trestle that spans the Middle Fork River that once housed the CSX railway line. and Conrail.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled today at 10 a.m. to mark the completion of the trestle bridge and parking improvements. Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Natural Resources to host event and provide updates on the track. Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and members of local organizations will be among those in attendance.

One day, we hope that the railway will go from Danville to Urbana. Seven miles of the trail was completed from Urbana to St. Joseph and 3 miles from Danville to Oakwood. That leaves about 14 more miles to complete.

In Vermilion County, the first phase of the trail was a 1.8 mile segment of Oakwood just east of Gray Side Road, opened in 2019. The second segment, which is now complete, is approximately 1.3 mile from Gray Siding Road at Vermilion. County Fairgrounds, encompassing the Trestle Bridge.

Lara Danzl, environmental education supervisor for the Vermilion County Conservation District, said the trestle is a sight to see and has already become a tourist attraction.

“It will be a destination that people can see with a quarter-mile length,” Danzl said. “Much of the steel for the original bridge came from Pittsburgh” – known in the past to the steel industry.

“This is going to be fantastic for the businesses in the community here in Vermilion County. I was surprised at how many people used the railroad before the bridge opened.

Danzl said the bridge will likely do even more.

“People are looking for outdoor activities,” she said.

An eye-catching aspect of the bridge is the Ipé wood (Brazilian walnut) laid at the top of the bridge.

“It’s extremely rot resistant, incredibly durable,” Danzl said.

The wood is almost twice as dense as most woods and up to five times harder. It’s also attractive, Danzl said.

“The patina that comes out of it is beautiful,” she said. “The rain and the sun hitting this wood, it’s absolutely beautiful.”

The new trail parking lot is located just west of the trestle bridge. To reach the car park from US 150, turn onto Pollock Lane.

“Now that this parking lot is open, we no longer want anyone to park at the fairgrounds or along the fairground roads,” Danzl said. “We want people to use this parking lot to access the Kickapoo Rail Trail.”

The trail is made of crushed limestone and is intended for walking, running, biking, and even skateboarding. No equestrian use is permitted.

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