Concerns from cyclists and conservationist that a road reconstruction project in West Des Moines would affect the scenic Great Western Trail sent city engineers back to the drafting table.

They came up with five alternatives that will be presented Wednesday to the Warren County Conservation Board, which maintains the popular bike trail south of County Line Road.

West Des Moines plans to extend a portion of Veterans Parkway to support a Microsoft data center that will be built nearby. Initial plans showed a rerouted Great Western Trail running parallel to the two-lane road extension.

That didn't sit well with cyclists.

West Des Moines officials promised to look at ways to preserve two miles of wooden trail after the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and others expressed concerns in the fall.

"There's no way the trail is not going to be impacted," said Jim Priebe, director of Warren County Conservation. But to what degree will depend on which design the city selects for the road.

The Warren County Conservation Board has published maps showing the alternative routes on its website.

Joe Jayjack, director of communications for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, said his group will advocate for a design that places the road north of the trail, leaving it almost untouched.

It "will impact the trail the least and protect the ... valuable green space, wildlife habitat and water quality benefits in an area that is going to be heavily developed in the future,” he said.

This Great Western Trail begins near Water Works Park in Des Moines and runs 16.5 miles south to the Warren County town of Martensdale.


No comments have posted.

Leave a Comment

You must be signed in to leave a comment.