Saturday, May 31, 2014

Morton Arboretum's Salt Berm

Between IL-53 and Finley Road there are a bunch of office buildings between Warrenville and I-88. I stopped in the parking lots of those building when going from west to east down this segment of Warrenville to take pictures of the Morton Arboretum's salt berm. The berm protects the plants from salt spray in the winter. This berm was built for the arboretum as part of a three-way trade among the arboretum, the Tollway Authority, and the DuPage County Forest Preserve to build I-355. I remember the old I-88 berm was a rather boring 20-foot hill. The new berm has varying heights and some landscaping on the road side of the berm. As part of the trade, the arboretum planed to do research concerning the salt tolerance of various plants. I include I-88 in the foreground of this picture so that you have some context.

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The following three views were taken from the same spot looking towards the west, then north, then towards the east.

When I took these pictures, I tried to wait until there were no trucks in the view. I see I missed avoiding one in my eastern view.

Note the power lines on the right of the eastern view. Below is a better view of the power lines. Another aspect of the I-355 contruction was $30 million dollars spent for utility relocation. These lines are part of the corridor that we have already seen in Hidden Lakes and over the CB&Q tracks. Just past the power lines on the right side of the picture is where I-355 goes under I-88.

The  following was taken from east of the I-88/I-355 intersection looking towards the west.

 I-355 is below grade in this stretch because it goes under I-88. I wrote a lot of words trying to describe where it was in the above view before it occurred to me that I could have my wife drive me on I-355 while I take some pictures. Below is the part of I-355 that is in the above view. In this stretch, it is buried with retaining walls. The bridges carry I-88. If you look at the map, can see that I-355 does most of its curving to the east while south of I-88 and goes under I-88 with a heavy skew angle to minimize the amount of land that Morton Arboretum had to surrender as part of the trade. That made the length of the bridges and the spans significantly longer. Note the tollway authority's microwave tower in the center of the view. That can be used to help correlate this view with the following view.

To put the above in context and to include a "prettier" view I include a view before we get to the above view. I-88 is on the "grassy hill" to the left. So I-355 is beginning to separate from I-88 and is starting to go underground here. On the right we see the berm and power lines. The microwave tower is just to the left of the light post that is closest to the camera. The office building to the left of the microwave tower is the tollroad's headquarters.

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