The bid for the last two miles of construction on the new “north loop” of the Raccoon River Valley Trail was accepted in late August. Work was to start right away to replace a delapidated culvert under the right-of-way in Jamaica, and should be completed this fall. But that means the paving of the last two miles of the trail to Herndon probably won’t be completed until next spring. Nevertheless, it’s another big step in making the 89-mile RRVT a reality!
JAMAICA, Iowa, August 24, 2012 – A bid was awarded this week to the Howrey Construction Company, of Rockwell City, Ia., for a $447,000 project that will replace a damaged box culvert going under the Raccoon River Valley Trail right-of-way in the west part of this town, and will also include paving a concrete surface on about two miles of trail between Jamaica and Herndon.
That is expected to be the final part of the new “north loop” of the RRVT that will be completed.
Work is already underway on two other stretches of the north loop still to be completed — 5.9 miles between Dallas Center and Minburn, and 4.5 miles from Dawson to Jamaica. Those two portions of the new trail are expected to be completed this fall.
Dallas County Conservation director Mike Wallace, who has managed the construction of the north loop, said his conservation board accepted bids for the Jamaica-to-Herndon project in a meeting Tuesday in Perry. Wallace said the Howrey company’s bid came in “a little below the estimates, so that was good news.”
Funding for the entire, 33-mile north loop project has already been raised, including a $1.6 million grant from the Vision Iowa Program’s Community Attractions & Tourism fund, several smaller grants from government entities and private donations.
The work on replacing the culvert in Jamaica will actually be handled by a sub-contractor, Gus Construction Company, of Casey, Ia., working with Howreys.
That 100-year-old concrete box culvert was built by the railroad, and extends about 70 feet under what was once a double-tracked mainline of the Milwaukee Road railroad. It has carried the water of Mosquito Creek, as well as drainage from about three square miles of farmland, under the right-of-way.
It was early this spring when Joe Hanner, the Guthrie County Conservation director, discovered that the old culvert was collapsing. He was driving the right-of-way in his pick-up, and the vehicle’s wheels began to sink into dirt and rock above the culvert. Engineers and concrete experts later determined it could not be repaired and would have to be totally replaced before the trail surface can be paved.
Wallace said he thinks work on the culvert replacement will begin immediately and will probably be completed this fall. “But I doubt the paving of the actual trail will be finished until next spring,” he said.
When the north loop is completed, the RRVT will then include 89 miles and will be one of the longest paved recreational trails in the U.S. Its interior loop, between Herndon and Waukee, will be 72 miles — and it is believed it will be the longest loop on any trail in the nation.
Members of the board of directors of the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association were meeting Friday in Panora, and began talks on a series of “grand opening” events that will be held in 2013 to celebrate the completion of the trail.