116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Decorah's 'Cut' to be changed again for trail work
May. 17, 2010 7:00 am
In the late 1940s, the landscape on the south edge of Decorah was dramatically changed for a flood-control project.
It was changed again in the 1960s to make way for Highway 52.
In the next few weeks, the area will be changed again - but to a much lesser degree to accomplish a recreational trail loop around the city.
“The Cut,” as the area is to referred to by local residents, was removed from a hill running through the Beard and Lubke farms to provide a channel for floodwaters from Dry Run Creek. The work was done in conjunction with the construction of a levee system in the 1940s.
“?‘The Cut,' combined with the dike levee system, was one of the best decisions the community ever made,” said Mike Huinker, a member of the Trout Run Trail committee that's been working to build a new trail in Decorah. “Rerouting the water has saved the town many times. The levee system was a huge improvement.”
The Trout Run Trail is a $7 million 12-mile recreational loop being constructed around the city. In order to complete the loop, another “cut” from the limestone hillside off Highway 52 is necessary.
“This is the only way it (the loop) is possible,” Huinker said.
Bruening Rock Products has the contract to make the incision into the hillside, something that will be completed by making borings then filling them with explosives. The contract start date is June 10, but city Engineer Lindsay Erdman said work could begin this month.
When explosives are being used to make a new cut for the trail, the highway will be closed for brief periods, according to Erdman.
“There may be an occasion where we'll need a short detour period. We're still working through that,” Erdman said.
He said the rock would be taken out in small increments or layers.
“It won't be as deep as the highway cut and not as wide, but it has to be big enough to move the rock back to protect the trail,” Erdman explained.
The engineer said the deepest section of the new cut would be 30 feet - about the height of a two-story house.
It will be the third time a cut has been made there, Erdman said. After the Army Corps of Engineers' flood control project in the late 1940s, the cut was widened, mostly on the east side when Highway 52 was built in the late 1960s.
The final piece necessary to complete the Trout Run Trail loop will be the construction of a bridge over Highway 9. The selection of the bridge design is expected within the month and construction is anticipated for next year. The project began about four years ago.
The Trout Run Trail is a “ribbon of trail” that will tie all of the area's recreational resources together, Huinker said, such as trout fishing, kayaking and canoeing, camping and mountain biking. Those recreational pursuits are complemented by the wide variety of dining and lodging opportunities, making the Decorah area a popular tourism destination, he said.
By Sarah Strandberg, Correspondent