The City of Muscatine held a public meeting on the evening of Wednesday, June 7 to discuss the route and plans for the new trail expansion.
Plans for the expansion have been in process for over 10 years, according to Randy Hill, Project Team Lead. Hill estimates that the proposed trail plan was changed over 30 times before settling on the chosen route.
The hard surface path will connect Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park, with the trail winding through Deep Lakes Park before ending near the beach at Lake Chester.
Construction on the trail was set to begin on Monday, June 12 by Illowa, based in Blue Grass. The project is scheduled to take 80 work days. With weather considerations included, the project is anticipated to be complete in October.
The majority of the project is being funded through a combination of federal and state grants as well as private donations.
The trail is planned to be 10 feet wide, with two feet of clearance on either side. The new section of the trail will measure 4.5 miles. In addition, a one-mile trail will be added around the transfer station that will incorporate the pollinator park being established in the area.
The trail section is planned to be fairly level, reaching a 4-5% grade in certain areas before reaching Deep Lakes Park.
The trail will be maintained by the city, though it will not be placed on high priority during the winter months.
City Engineer Jim Edgemond explains, “They will be cleared in the winter, it just may be a matter of when. We will make certain all roads and alleys are clear before moving to the trails.”
Residents in attendance expressed the need for clear signage at the intersections of the trail and Sampson Street, Dick Drake Way, and 41st Street, where cyclists and pedestrians would need to cross the roadway.
City Administrator Gregg Mandsager assured those in attendance that the intersections will be clearly marked for both trail users and the vehicles using the roadways.
There was discussion over whether the plans included a center line to facilitate traffic flow. Hill explained that the decision was made to not paint lane markers due to maintenance and upkeep.
The trail will instead include signage providing needed information, including along the property lines marking private property.
The Muscatine trail is scheduled to end near Deep Lakes Park, though riders who wish to continue to the Louisa County Trail that is in progress will be able to do so by riding along the road from 57th Street to Pettibone to Wiggens to Ogilvie.
Mandsager stated that a trail connecting the Kent Stein Park trail to the trails located around Discovery Park is being discussed for future development and will incorporate the Ag Learning Center.
A full copy of the master plan will be available on the city’s website.