What’s up with all the
trees being removed along the Great Western Trail?
Glad you asked.
There have been few pleasant
riding days this spring, but several riders have asked about trees being
removed along the Great Western Trail. Yes, it’s more than trimming back the
This year, the arched
Army Post Road Bridge over the Great Western Trail will be demolished and
replaced with a concrete box culvert/tunnel for the Great Western Trail.
Bottom line: Expect
that you can still make it to Cumming on most days. Keep reading; there will be
a one-week closure with no detour.
Trees are being
removed now for detours so the trail may remain open during construction. The
City of Des Moines Engineering department (in charge of the bridge removal and
new culvert) expects the project will begin in earnest in a matter of days,
depending on weather and ground conditions.
The Polk County
Conservation Board (in charge of the Great Western maintenance) reports that the trail should
remain open for a majority of the project. There are three hard-surfaced
detours that will take place to remove the bridge and build the newtunnel.
Once the new tunnel is
in place, expect a five-day weekday trail closure later in the season. (That includes a
Tuesday, for those of you making a weekly pilgrimage to Cumming.) The contract
requires that the trail remain open on both adjacent weekends; the contract
calls for a $1,000 per day liquidated damages for the contractor not meeting
these closure requirements.
The one-week closure
will allow crews to pave approaches to the new tunnel. About a week
before the trail closure, expect to see signs alerting trail users of the
upcoming closure. The signs will specify that no detour is available.
The Des Moines Engineering Department pledges to
regularly share project information with the Polk County Conservation Board and
Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Please contact Ben Cole (BMCole@dmgov.org) for additional information