The new footbridge at Fabyan Forest Preserve officially opened Friday, Nov. 1, and the next stage of work — the removal of the causeway built by “Col.” George Fabyan is set to begin.
Back in 2014, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County was forced to take down the historic footbridge at Fabyan Forest Preserve due to structural deterioration. In fact, the bridge had been closed since 2012 after a section of the bridge failed.
The new bridge replaces the old one in that location and now provides pretty much a straight line across the Fox River.
Goodbye To Causeway
Forest Preserve District of Kane County officials announced that the causeway removal portion of the project will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.
That causeway was build by Fabyan, the millionaire businessman who founded a private research laboratory and had a residence on what is now the Fabyan Forest Preserve site.
According to the Forest Preserve District’s Capital Projects Report, the removal of the causeway was coordinated in conjunction with the Fabyan Forest Preserve bridges and island improvement project in that the causeway.
In the agreement, ratified by the Forest Preserve Commission on Jan. 13, 2015, the IDNR agreed to provide the funding to remove the causeway at the Fabyan Forest Preserve. The funding will cover costs for engineering and removal of the two structures, as well as shoreline restoration.
The IDNR provided $500,000 of the funding for the engineering. IDNR approved revised construction drawings and project plans were let for construction on Dec. 19, 2018, and is fulling fund the project, whose budget is set at $1 million, according to the Capital Projects Report.
“The dams are major barriers for fish and other aquatic animals,” officials said in the report. “By removing the structure, animals could move more freely throughout the river corridor. This would greatly improve water quality and fish habitat.”
According to the report, the Forest Preserve District set the standard many years ago in dam removal when we took out the South Batavia Dam.
“Fisheries biologists have demonstrated through their sampling that removing dams is the most positive thing we can do to improve the rivers for fish,” the report summary says. “Holistic restoration is still in process, but even removing the dams one at a time works to restore the structure and function of the entire Fox River corridor.”