Iowa has more than 1,000 miles of biking and hiking trails – and many were hit hard by flooding this month. Stu Anderson of the Iowa Department of Transportation says his agency is still surveying the damage.
"We don’t have a full report yet, but it’s very clear that the trail system in Iowa has been severely impacted by flooding all across the state," Anderson said. Like so many of Iowa’s highways, complete sections of bike trails were washed away by the flood waters.
Since bike trails are often placed so close to rivers and lakes, Anderson says the flooding affected trails in every part of the state. "We have nine metropolitan areas in Iowa and we’ve had reports from eight of them that they have trail damage," Anderson said. "Most of (the damage) is in eastern and central Iowa, but we also have reports of damage in the Council Bluffs area, on their trail system, as well."
Anderson says the heaviest damage appears to be along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail from Waterloo to La Porte City. He says two bridges that cross the Cedar River on the trail are either destroyed or severely damage. "The initial estimates for that one trail segment alone is that the damage could exceed five million dollars," Anderson said. Some bike trails, particularly in eastern and southeast Iowa, are still under water.