It's on us. Share your news here.

Bids due Aug 18 for dredging on Kankakee River

The above diagram shows the area of the Kankakee River that will be dredged at the Aroma Park boat launch. The dark-shaded area just west of Bridge Street to just past the island is what will be dredged.

Posted on June 17, 2024

KANKAKEE — A project that started nearly two years ago is preparing for its final stages of completion, as the bid letting for dredging of the Kankakee River at the Aroma Park boat launch was approved at Tuesday’s Kankakee County Board meeting.

“The project will extend from just near the Bridge Street bridge to about 2,000 feet downstream, going along the north side of the islands there in the middle of the river,” said A.J. Fricke, director of engineering for Christopher Burke Engineering in Indianapolis, which has been contracted to oversee the project.

The dredging project, first announced in September of 2022, will remove sand from directly in front of the ramp that is in Potawatomi Park in Aroma Park and in the river to allow for access by emergency responders and for recreational boating.

Fricke added that there will be a log vane constructed that will prevent debris and sediment build-up at the boat launch.

The bids for the work will be due at 8 a.m. Aug. 13 so the County Board can open the bids and select a contractor for the project at its monthly meeting that begins at 9 a.m.

“That gives a nice period here between now and that time for contractors to review the project and submit bids,” Fricke said.

The project will start some time after Aroma Park’s Two Rivers Festival which is on Aug. 17. It’s likely the project won’t start until September.

“It’s the quickest opportunity that we can get back to award the bid, so we can make sure that we get all this done in the early fall instead of running up against weather,” County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler said of the due date for the bids.

The entire project is being paid for by $1 million secured in 2022 from the state by State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex.

There is going to be approximately 9,500 cubic yards of sand/sediment removed from the Kankakee River at the project site. Sand will be removed directly in front of the ramp and an approximate 30-foot width between the boat ramp and the island in the middle of the river. The area adjacent to the parking lot at the boat launch will be used for temporary staging of equipment used during the work.

One change in the project is the sand/sediment won’t be dewatered before it is placed in the trucks that will haul it away. Once the sand is removed from the river it will be placed directly into truck’s hoppers that will be hauling the material to the off-site location.

“That allows it to be dewatered in transit, so to speak,” Fricke said. “As they’re dredging the material from the river and getting it in into the hoppers, the water is kind of filtering out of there and by the time it gets in the truck, it’s manageable and ready to go to the project site.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association Range in Bonfield has agreed to accept the sand. It will be used in the range’s berm.


Potawatomi Park and the boat launch ramp was constructed more than 40 years ago. Patrick Engels, of Bourbonnais, said the land adjacent to the river was cleared in either 1980 or ‘81.

Sweeney Construction, of Momence, built the park and ramp. The company used heavy equipment to knock down trees and brush to make way for the park.

“It was just a hunk of woods,” said Engels, a retired union carpenter. “… It might have been part of a farm at one point. We poured the concrete [for the ramp] in one day.”

Then they constructed concrete pads at Dixie Lumber Company in Momence, and those were placed into the water at the river’s edge.

“We couldn’t pour concrete into the water,” Engels said.

Potawatomi Park is one of 33 parks of the Kankakee Valley Park District, that serves Aroma Park and Kankakee townships.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe