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Jefferson County Conservation Board, Oct 9, 2005

Trail Talk... by Ron Meyers

First Trail Drive-Through's - on the Cedar View Trail, and the BNSF Trail

Cedar View Trail Drive-Through

trail drive

On Sunday, October 9th (2005) from 1:00 to 4:00 PM there was a steady flow of vehicular traffic on the Cedar View Trail. We held our first "Trail Drive-Through", allowing people to drive the trail and see the sights. Starting at the trailhead parking lot on 32nd avenue naturalist Therese Cummiskey directed participants towards the trail that is adjacent to a beautiful field of reestablished prairie grasses. Before they started she showed them the pictures of the same area, which was a junkyard only five years ago when the land came into the possession of the Jefferson County Conservation Board. Next on the trail was an area where the IDOT has installed several hundred feet of orange fence on both sides of the trail. This fencing is to protect sensitive and endangered plants during the construction of the Highway 34 By-pass project. The fence will probably be in place for the next couple of years while the various stages of construction will be in progress.

As seen from the Cedar Creek. The bridge is 60 feet above the creek.  Dedicated August 3, 2002, the 376' bridge over Cedar Creek is just west of Jefferson County Park. Contractor: Godbersen-Smith from Ida Grove, IA
Cedar View Trail

Then just past the fenced area Director Dennis Lewiston was on hand to show the approximate location of the by-pass. He explained that the DOT will construct a new 400' bridge on the trail and the new four-lane highway will be underneath it. A little farther down the trail travelers came across a new opening in the tree line to the south. Operations Manager Shawn Morrissey was there to explain the new view: The newest addition to the JCCB's inventory is a one hundred sixty five acre area that will be bordered on the east by the new highway, on the north by the Cedar View Trail and on the west and south by the Cedar Creek. Prior to making this land available to the JCCB, the DOT made the following improvements: reconstructed the dike on the existing man-made wetlands, constructed several acres of "Seasonal Wetlands", disconnected existing field tiles and built an access lane from the trail to the wetland area. This area also has several acres of native prairie and all of the disturbed areas were reseeded to wetland and prairies plants and grasses.

Cedar Creek Bridge

Next on the drive was the 380' bridge over the Cedar Creek. I was on hand there to explain that the bridge was built between the original abutments of the abandoned Rock Island Railroad and that it was 60' above the creek. I also showed a series of pictures of the bridge during construction for those that were interested. Cars were sent on over the bridge one at a time to allow people to stop in the middle and look down at the creek. Built for bicycles and pedestrians this concrete structure was more than capable to handle the vehicular traffic too.

Board member Wayne Atwood was at 223rd Street, the end of the trail for this drive through. Wayne made sure that everyone know how to get back on to the Libertyville Road from there. It was a great day and we were very happy to open the trail to vehicles for this drive through. We heard nothing but good comments from the approximately 167 people in the 74 cars that took advantage of this opportunity. It was the first time on the trail for many and the only way that some could see what this section of trail has to offer. We'll probably make this an annual event.

BNSF Trail Drive-Through

Enhanced Bridge

The Jefferson County Trails Council hosted a drive-through on the trail from Chautauqua Park to Walton Lake during the same time. The highlight of this drive was the new bridge over the BNSF Railroad. This beautiful structure with its historical art enhancements makes it worthwhile to see.

This BNSF Trail saw 55 cars & trucks, 2 motorcyles and 1 Dodge Power Wagon drive on this 1-mile section of the Fairfield Loop Trail.




BNSF Bridge. Photo by Judy Bales, Fall 2005.
BNSF Bridge photo by Judy Bales

Tiles on the BNSF Bridge. Photo by Judy Bales, Fall 2005.
Photo by Judy Bales

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