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Des Moines County Trail Progressing

A hiking and biking trail is proceeding, slowly but surely, in Des Moines County.

The roughly 20-mile Flint River Trail will eventually stretch from downtown Burlington to Big Hollow Recreation Area.  It is about 60% complete after nearly a decade of planning and construction.

Regional Planner Zach James says that percentage will improve this spring thanks to the Iowa Transportation Commission awarding the project a roughly $423,000 recreational trails grant grant .

James says that gives Des Moines County enough money to complete a 2.3-mile stretch of the trail through Starr's Cave Park and Preserve.

"It starts at Irish Ridge Road, the entrance of Starr's Cave," says James, "and will go through the state park west over to Highway 61 and then north and connect with Flint Bottom Road."

The trail is complete and in use from Flint Bottom Road to Big Hollow Recreation Area.

James says this phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.2-million dollars.  He says environmental and archeological studies, along with engineering, will be completed this spring and summer.

James hopes to have the project go out to bid in the winter of 2014 with construction getting underway in the spring of 2015.

He says once this phase is complete, the only responsibility for the county will be to complete a roughly two-mile stretch from Irish Ridge Road to the Burlington city limits. 

The planning for that project should get underway this year.

James says the city has a couple of smaller projects to complete, possibly this year.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.