CEDAR RAPIDS — A detour was being installed on Tuesday for a popular bike trail through Cedar Rapids as part of the Czech Village flood levee project, but cyclists and businesses foresee little impact.
The Cedar River Trail connects a larger trail system — from Johnson County to Black Hawk County — through Cedar Rapids, where it passes through the Czech Village, New Bohemia and downtown business districts. Cyclists will find the trail closed from 16th Avenue SW to the Linn County Solid Waste Agency on A Avenue SW for three to four months.
“To me, it’s not that big of an inconvenience,” said Kevin Kershner, president of Linn County Trails Association. “We do have an alternative route around. It’s an extra block or two.
“Like anything else, construction is a positive and needs to be done, and in the end we’ll get a new trail on the flood wall.”
He said the only feedback he’d heard from members was appreciation a detour had been created rather than just let bikers fend for themselves.
“I am glad we have a safe alternative,” he said.
Wayfinding signs are being installed to guide cyclists on a newly paved Bowling Street SW (formerly 21st Street SW) to C Street SW, to 17th Avenue SW, then to tie back to the trail at 16th Avenue and A Street SW.
When the detour is lifted, cyclists will find a newly paved trail along the river that varies from atop the levee to down closer to the river, said Justin Holland, the city’s construction engineering manager.
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“We have a hard close of the trail on Thursday,” Holland said. “Once it is closed, we might get some questions, but there’s been so much activity down there over the course of the last two construction seasons, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.”
The larger flood protection work in this area also is nearing completion. The levee from the old landfill to 16th Avenue SW is expected to be substantially completed this winter with final grading in the spring.
A pump station and a gatewell, which will allow the storm sewer system for this part of town to be closed off during flooding events, also are slated for this area.
Some businesses in Czech Village, such as Soko Outfitters and Lion Bridge Brewing Co., said they don’t anticipate much effect from the detour.
“My belief is that we all have to be a destination location, and anything that we get from foot or bike traffic should be icing on the cake,” said Steve Shriver, co-owner of Soko, on 16th Ave. SW.
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