116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION - A couple of Marion pathway projects will see a lot of work this year as warmer weather approaches and walkers, runners and bicyclists start hitting the trails.
The CeMar Trail project, which got underway last year, will be closer to completion by the end of the year, and the 10th Avenue Sidepath project eventually will change the streetscape along 10th Avenue/Highway 151.
Work on the long-awaited CeMar Trail began last July when construction in Marion closed the portion of the Boyson Trail between Thomas and Donnelly parks.
The Marion portion of the project has five phases and will renovate and pave existing trails as well as add new ones, connecting Uptown Marion to downtown Cedar Rapids.
Once completed, the trail will be 7 miles long with about 4 of those miles in Marion. The entire project is expected to be complete in 2022 or 2023.
The Marion portion of the CeMar Trail project is expected to cost $6.7 million, with 80 percent coming from federal funding.
The 10th Avenue Sidepath project involves a milelong stretch of 10th Avenue/Highway 151. The project will make a 10-foot-wide pathway along the road for pedestrians and bicyclists to use from Hy-Vee to Walmart.
The total cost of the project is around $3.5 million, with 80 percent coming from federal funding as well.
What's happened since
Like many projects, the CeMar Trail has seen some delays due to the August derecho.
The entirety of the project site is surrounded by acres of trees, with many falling down and covering portions of the current trail. Tons of debris had to be removed before any more trail work could get done, Marion associate planner Kesha Billings said.
Billings said Phase 2, which included the paving of trails through Thomas Park all the way to just north of Highway 100, was supposed to begin the week of the derecho.
'Obviously, that got delayed,” Billings said. 'They had to wait until October to begin. But, now, we've already seen it paved.”
Though it's been covered in snow and ice for the past couple of months, the portion of trail that starts at the end of Grand Avenue near the Marion Menard's and flows through the woods and past Thomas Park now is concrete.
Additionally, the railroad bridge that spanned Marion Boulevard was torn down last fall. Construction on a pedestrian bridge to be built in the same location is set for August.
'I don't think we are too optimistic to have that done, done this year,” Billings said. 'But people will see construction of that later this year.”
The section of railroad bridge that crosses the Boyson Trail between Thomas and Donnelly parks and over Indian Creek also is in the process of becoming part of the new pedestrian bridge.
The bridge's old girders will be used in the new bridge design, Billings said.
Billings said that part of the project will stretch into mid-2021, leaving the section of trail between the two parks closed until then.
'That's the junction point coming for the Lindale Trail and Boyson Trail,” she said. 'That closes down a major trail connection and unfortunately, that's where the project is.”
She added that once the bridge over Indian Creek is done, people will be able to resume using the entire Boyson Trail by mid to late summer.
The last phase of the CeMar Trail project is the construction and paving of a trail south of Highway 100.
'We're still working on property acquisitions,” Billings said. 'I don't have a date for that. But once we have that done, we turn in final plans, but we're just not to the acquisition-completed part.”
Billings said the 10th Avenue Sidepath project is anticipated to begin this year as well, but currently has no start date. The purpose of the project is to provide a usable pathway along Highway 151.
'For years, we have seen people walking along the shoulders so we've decided to build sidepaths on both sides,” Billings said. 'Because it's federal funded, it has to be 10 feet wide and either concrete or asphalt as an (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirement.”
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