May 4th will be an exciting day for all cycling and trail enthusiasts in the Cedar Valley. It is the celebration of the reopening of McFarlane Bridge in La Porte City, a key point along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail that runs from Evansdale to Hiawatha. Riders will depart from Gateway Park in Cedar Falls at 8:30 a.m. for the 28-mile Bridge-2-Bridge Bike Ride Event, ending at McFarlane Bridge in time for the celebration. At 11 a.m. there will be food, live music, and a recognition ceremony, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and parade at 1 p.m.
The bridge underwent a long process of restoration after the 2008 flood. There were several federal restrictions that delayed reconstruction. First, the county had to come up with $3.2 million outside of funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Most of this amount came in the form of a federal community development block grant in the fall of 2010. When it was finally time for construction, even though the bridge is not listed on the National Register for Historic Places, since it is eligible, it was required to comply with those restrictions. Both the Iowa Economic Development Authority and State Historic Preservation Office were involved to work out a design plan for historical preservation, a process that took about one year. Reconstruction involved a controlled demolition of the damaged bridge to determine and document how it was built. It was completed at the end of 2012 and opened to riders in January.
Be part of this exciting day, filled with food, music, and friends! For a map of the ride route and contact information, you can view the flyer at either cedarvalleycyclists.org or cvbikecollective.org.
Written by Clarissa McPheron