Nearly 3 miles of Iowa River Trail paved

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Looking east along a dirt portion of the Iowa River Trail north of Summit Street Road, construction crews level concrete after poured by a Mannatts Concrete truck.

Construction crews have been busy making forms and laying concrete on the Iowa River Trail.

Under an Indian-summer sun Wednesday, Manatts Concrete trucks were seen coming and going along Summit Street Road, as crews worked to make a concrete path.

They are working along the former Iowa River Rail Road (previously the Iowa Central R.R.) right-of-way on the Northside of Summit Street Road. They will continue until the latest stretch of the trail is paved to Radio Tower Road west of city limits. The construction will link completed portions in Marshalltown city limits to the road.

Construction started at the top of the Summit Street viaduct and will stop just before the bridge at Radio Tower Road, a distance of approximately three-quarters of a mile.

“It will be a 10-foot wide concrete path, similar to what has been installed previously,” Trails, Inc. President Terry Briggs said. “We are excited about getting more of the trail paved. With this portion completed, we will have 2.8 miles of paving done from Anne Keyser Circle to Radio Tower Road.”

Trail construction and related costs will be paid by the local not-for-profit group established several years ago. It has been spearheading trail fundraising for several years, including aggressive grant-writing campaigns directed to state agencies, individuals, private businesses and numerous foundations.

Estimated completion date for trail construction to the Marshall County/Hardin County line is 2030. The 34-mile IRT will connect communities from Marshalltown to Liscomb to Steamboat Rock.

The communities of Albion, Liscomb, Union, Gifford and Eldora are on the route. The recreational trail will be ideal for bird-watching, bicyclists, campers, hikers and more.

A Hardin County volunteer group is raising money for that county’s portion of the trail, from the Hardin County line to Steamboat Rock.

Briggs said trail construction has slowed locally because fewer state and federal grants for construction exist. Trails, Inc. had estimated paving to the Hardin County-Marshall County line would be completed by 2022 or 2023. Because of cutbacks on key funding sources, Briggs said he expects that milestone to be accomplished in 2030.

Significant repair necessary to eight bridges along the route also played a major role in the 2030 completion date.

“A firm specializing in bridge repair and working with the local CGA office determined that many of the bridge pilings will have to be replaced,” Briggs said.

Trails, Inc. will maintain the Marshall County portion of the trail when completed. Donations can be directed to the project through TRAILS, Inc. at 112 West Church St., Marshalltown, 50158. For more information visit iowarivertrail.com.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com