Evansdale Bridge back open more than three years later - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Evansdale Bridge back open more than three years later

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

After being destroyed the floods of 2008, the Evansdale Bridge is back open for people wanting to enjoy the great outdoors.

"You don't realize how important it is until it's closed," Vern Fish, Black Hawk County Conservation Board Executive Director, said.

It was originally a railroad bridge.

"When we inherited this bridge, we knew it was something we'd have to replace, and we really didn't know how we were going to come up with it," Fish said. "The flood was a disaster, but it also gave us a way to make a replacement."

It took time to get FEMA funding approved, get designs completed and finish the construction, but more than three years later the bridge is completed.

"It links the Metropolitan Trails all the way to Cedar Rapids, that's 52 miles away," Fish said.

The $1.8 million bridge is a valuable recreational and economic resource to the area.

"It's a great boost for the City of Evansdale. We've notice in the last 20 days numerous bicycles coming in the morning and leaving at night and in the process stopping at our hotels, our grocery stores, our restaurants, our convenience stores. It's also going to be an impact on the sister communities down the line," Gene Walker, Evansdale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair, said.

It took a lot of city and county partners to get the bridge back open, but now that it's done, Walker said everyone's pleased with the finished product.

"It's like hooking an artery back up to the heart," he said.

During the last two weeks since the unofficial re-opening, bikers, walkers and runners began taking advantage of the completed trail bridge.

"I've been up here a couple times in the evening and you can stand for 20 minutes and watch 60 or 70 bikes go by," Al Finke, Black Hawk County Conservation Board south unit ranger, said.

As word of the bridge's completion spreads, city and county leaders expect to see even more wheels and feet on the Evansdale Bridge.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Sunday, July 31st at 4 p.m. at the north end of the bridge.

If you plan to attend, please park at the old Jewett School at 600 Collins Avenue. You'll be transported to the bridge.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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