116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — The city of Marion celebrated the opening of the new gateway bridge over Marion Boulevard on Friday.
“This beautiful bridge is yet another installment in Marion’s promise to give residents of our city and the region great opportunities for an amazing quality of life,” Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said as city and chamber of commerce leaders cut the ribbon.
“It reflects our commitment to excellence in everything we do and provides a vital connection in the regional trail network as well as an attractive gateway feature for our community.”
Construction on the bridge began in July 2020 with the demolition of the former railroad bridge that sat in the current bridge’s place — just as Marion Boulevard turns east into the city, near the McDonald’s restaurant.
The bridge is the second pedestrian and biking bridge to open in the past year that pay tribute to the Milwaukee Road rail line that ran through Marion. Last year, a reconstructed railroad bridge opened over Indian Creek.
Both bridges are part of Marion’s CeMar Trail project, a project decades in the making that will connect trails from Uptown Marion to downtown Cedar Rapids when complete.
The newest bridge cost around $2 million. Federal funding through the Surface Transportation Program is covering 80 percent of the cost.
Shoemaker & Haaland provided the project’s design and engineering services in coordination with local artist Cara Briggs Farmer of Synergy Metalworks. Artistic columns will be added at a later date after the Iowa Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration accept the project.
The Marion portion of the trail project has five phases for renovating and paving existing trails and adding new ones. Once completed, the trail will be 7 miles long, with about 4 of those miles in Marion.
The city is seeking more than $3.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by the state to fund the final phase of the CeMar Trail as well as the Uptown Central Plaza project through the Destination Iowa Grant process. The two projects will cost just over $9 million.
The final 1.3 miles of trail will connect the Cedar Rapids and Marion trails south of Highway 100. It’s expected to be completed in the fall of 2025.
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