MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night started the process for two components of the city’s Destination Iowa/Bike North Iowa bike park project. The council approved the plans and specifications as well as set a public hearing date for the Illinois Bridge Improvement project as well as the Scrip Road conversion.
City Administrator Aaron Burnett says it’s been the council’s goal for a few years to address Scrip Road, also known as Birch Drive between Illinois Avenue and State Highway 122, and was also adopted as part of the bike park project. “By turning Scrip Road into a trail with essentially two trail heads on either side, it gets rid of a road that is in very poor shape and is frankly not needed for the community. It really serves no purpose other than being a secondary way around off 122. It often sees a lot of complaints from people traveling way too fast through that area.”
Burnett says it will provide a great improvement for that area. “One of the added benefits is really dressing up each side of that trail to have those trail heads and parking for ease of access. Right now it’s really kind of a gravel turnaround, and this will be a significant improvement to that. With the water trail work that the community has done with removing the low-head dams, it also will make for a nice point of access or to get out of the water if you put in like at the 12st Street kayak launch.”
Burnett says the Illinois Bridge would be widened to improve safety. “This has also been a point of concern for the community, the fact that the bridge/sidewalk there is extremely narrow. There’s a sign that says ‘walk your bike’, not many people do. That’s also a route to school, so you see significant traffic from pedestrians and bike traffic to and from school, and also just for the recreation trail side of that. By widening that and providing protection for the users of that trail, it will really make for a better experience and a more functional path across the bridge there.”
The engineer’s opinion of probable cost of the Scrip Road conversion is $428,846, while the probable cost of the Illinois Bridge project is $450,748. The public hearing for both projects will be held at the council’s May 16th meeting.