LA PORTE CITY — Black Hawk County officials are expecting to open bids next fall to repair a long-closed bridge on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.
Mike Hendrickson, executive director of the conservation board, said it appears enough money has been secured to fix the bridge over Wolf Creek in La Porte City, which was closed in September 2015 due to safety concerns.
“This is all funded,” Hendrickson said. “The only thing we worry about is how will the bid come in.
“If it does come in a little bit over, we have some backup plans to try and cover that,” he added. “If it goes too much over the top we may have to just send it all back. That would be pretty crushing at this point.”
The bid opening on the estimated $854,000 project is tentatively slated for November with construction to begin in the spring of 2020. The additional wait is tied to the release of grants earmarked for the project.
Conservation officials have secured $386,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding and a $360,000 Iowa Recreational Trails grant. The balance has been raised from private donations, including money collected by a group called Preserve the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.
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The county Board of Supervisors provided $77,000 to pay for the initial engineering work on the project nearly two years ago.
“With the $77,000 investment of county taxpayer money, (conservation) was able to leverage that and bring in another $850,000,” said Supervisor Chris Schwartz. “That’s really impressive and the kind of work that continues to impress me from the conservation department.”
The Wolf Creek bridge closure has been an issue for users of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which runs 67 miles along an old railroad line from Evansdale through Cedar Rapids to Ely. Many believe detours around the bridge on county roads are unsafe for bicyclists.
Conservation has also received nearly $130,000 in federal recreational trail funding to repair a quarter-mile stretch of the trail at mile marker 13.75, but is attempting to cover the $53,000 match with private donations and other grants.
“Years ago the muskrats cycled up, they grew in population, and burrowed underneath the bike trail there,” Hendrickson said.