ACEC Illinois 2016 Environmental Honor Award. This project is a collaboration between the Lake County Forest Preserves (property owner) and the Illinois Tollway as part of the Elgin O’Hare – Western Access improvements and involves wetland creation, wetland enhancement, stream restoration, forest enhancement and restoration, and restoration of upland areas to prairie/savanna. The mitigation potential includes about 32 acres of wetland enhancement, 58 acres of wetland restoration, and 20 acres of upland enhancement credit, 100 acres of woodland enhancement, and 3,300 feet of stream restoration for a total of about 85 acres of wetland/waters mitigation credit.

Other site improvements include design of a 24 car parking lot, a restroom, a water well, a water fountain, nearly 3 miles of bike path, a 300’ long bridge, 3 boardwalks, and several overlook areas.  Site grading will move over 76,000 cubic yards of soil, over 5,700 feet of new storm/field tile will be installed, and 2,400 trees and 2,400 shrubs will be planted.

The project is currently under construction with wetland maintenance and monitoring being complete in 2020.

The Details


Lake County, Illinois

Construction Cost/Fee

$10 million / $560 thousand


Illinois Tollway