The Fox River Trail, South Elgin Construction

Update: July, 2011

Fox River Trail Construction
FRT Construction in South Elgin



Note: The Sterns Road Bridge Project is now complete and the Fox River Trail is open once again at this location.

See the photos at the end for the new bridge and see the About-Bicycles Bike Blog Trail Condition articles for the latest updates.

Original Article:

Fox River Trail Closures for Stearns Road Bridge Project – There are large signs just north of the long bridges in south Elgin that say that they are building a new highway bridge over the Fox River and that parts of the trail will be closed from the end of July 2009 through December 2010 (all summer of 2010!).

The signs refer the website (below) which I visited and it gives a lot of information on the roads but not much specifically about the bike trail. There was also an email address posted and I have sent an email to this address requesting more information about the “temporary detour”. I have received a lot of information about the project but nothing about a detour.

The website said “The Fox River bike trail is set to be closed from South Elgin to the John J. Duerr Forest Preserve beginning 8/3/2009" ...and through December of 2010.

For more information about the project see: the

Additional updates on the Fox River Trail Construction can be found here: Fox River Bike Trail Conditions in the About-Bicycles-Blog.

2010 Updates and Detour Options

The website never posted anything about an official detour and at this point, I don't think that they will. I wanted to check this out before planning any long FRT rides this summer so I did some research, exploring and took some photos.

You can go around the signs and through the construction site if you are really determined, but I would not recommend it. They are building and working on a bridge over the path and it could be dangerous to pass underneath. I did do this specifically for a first hand update to this site but I would not recommend it or do it again. Besides if you read the comments to my blog post on this subject ( Fox River Bike Trail Conditions in the About-Bicycles-Blog) you'll see that you can also get ticketed for this.

The other option that I tried was to detour around the construction. The only way that I found to get by this was to go out to Route 31 and this is not really a great option either, but it can be done.

If you are heading south you would get on Route 31 at the County Park in South Elgin. I rode on the grass by the Trolley Museum, but that was difficult. You can avoid a little bit of Route 31 by taking the subdivision roads that go parallel to 31 for a while.

Eventually you will need to get back on to 31 and cross the construction area and get back to the trail at the Jon Duerr forest preserve entrance. This detour is around 1.5 miles but you would be on Route 31 for less than a mile if you use the subdivision roads.

This is not a great option if you don't like riding on narrow roads with traffic (which I don't) but it can be done if you really need to get around the construction. As for myself, I think I'll just plan my trips to avoid this section for this summer :-(

Anyway, I took quite a few photos as I was checking this out and here are the photos and comments.


The Fox River Trail Construction Photos

(Click on any photo to enlarge)


Here's where the construction starts at County Park in South Elgin (heading south)

The first "Path Closed" sign

This is just before the actual construction

A panoramic view of the construction

Another rider that I saw cutting through

The bridge as you look north

Coming to the construction sign on the south end

It's not easy to get around this (and I don't recommend it)

The signs as you head north

Another reason not to cut through

Here's where you can get out to Route 31 for the detour

This is the FP road out to Route 31

This is the Jon Duerr FP entrance off of Route 31

Here's a view of a narrow section of Route 31

This is looking down on to the construction (the road/bridge) from the Route 31 bridge

This looks like a section of the new bike path that will cross the river.

This is a wider part of Route 31

This is a road (Rivervalley) that goes into a subdivision that goes parallel to 31.

Going parallel to 31 in the subdivision

A path to cut through from one subdivision to the next

The next subdivision (parallel to 31). This is brand new and still under construction

This is the grass (that I rode on) along 31 at the Trolley museum.

Going past the Trolley Museum

This is the road to the County Park in South Elgin where you could get back on to the FRT

Here' are the completed Stearns Road Bridge photos as of July 2011

Completed Stearns Road Bridge from the Fox River Trail

Stears Road Bridge

This photo compliments of Dale Kiffel.

I was also checking out the website for specific bike trail info and I believe that the FRT will not change significantly, but it looks like there may be some additional bike trails in this area.

The website says that there will be

  • Seven Miles of multi-use trails
  • Two new multi-use trail underpasses
  • A new multi-use path over the fox river

These changes might be nice for next year...