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Charles City working to close Charley Western Trail gap

Last year, the trail bridge that crossed the Cedar River south of downtown due to deterioration. Now, the city is working on plans to construct a new, enhanced bridge that can be used in an emergency.

Posted: Jul 8, 2019 12:35 AM
Updated: Jul 8, 2019 12:56 AM

CHARLES CITY, Iowa - It was a beautiful weekend to go for a walk or hop on a bike. And good news: a vital piece of the Charley Western Trail bike trail is one step closer to becoming reality.

The City, Iowa DOT and the U.S. Corps of Engineers have approved preliminary plans for the replacement bridge that crossed the Cedar River, and are working with the Des Moines-based engineering firm Calhoun Burns and Associates to move into the 'final design' phase. The bridge will be slightly lower than the old one, and will include two deck observation bays, conduit and bases for five lights, railings and some approach trail reconstruction.

Bernice Toepfer uses part of the trail that is still open, and says she's excited for the trail to be completely reopen, and could serve as a catalyst to extend the bike trail system elsewhere in the county.

"We have the beautiful Cedar River, I'd say make use of it. Whatever way you can draw tourists in and people that like to ride bikes, or people that like to go fishing or camping, that sort of thing."

With the memory of the 2008 floods still fresh in mind, the new bridge will have an added value, as it will be wide enough in order to be used during an emergency situation.

"When we had the floods of 2008, that was an emergency route. I worked at the hospital at the time, and to get an emergency vehicle...we had to have an access to connect the north and south through town."

The City has secured $330,000 in Federal TAP funding, and there are efforts underway to obtain other funding sources. The City hopes to begin construction on the new bridge sometime next year.

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