When it comes to the closed bridge on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail in La Porte City, the Wolf Creek Trail Bridge Committee and Cedar Trails Partnership are not taking any chances. Repairing the bridge, which has been closed since September 2015, has been estimated to cost $850,000. In January, Black Hawk County Conservation announced that funding for the project has been identified.

Two grants, an Iowa Recreational Trails grant for $360,000 and federal Transportation Alternatives Programming funding in the amount of $386,000 will finance the bulk of the project. However, grant monies will not be released for several months, making it possible that actual bids for the project could exceed the initial cost estimate.

“If it goes too much over the top we may have to just send it all back. That would be pretty crushing at this point,” said Mike Hendrickson, Executive Director of the Black Hawk County Conservation Board.

Because of the lengthy delay before bids can be solicited, local fund raising efforts remain an important fail-safe. That’s why the Wolf Creek Trail Bridge Committee and Cedar Trails Partnership are planning a pork sandwich dinner and silent auction, which will be held at the La Porte City Golf Club on Saturday, April 6 from 4-7 PM.

Cost for the meal, which will feature pork cooked by the Pork Producers, is $10. While at the Golf Club, place a bid on a number of unique gift baskets featuring prizes like a $150 money tree, whiskey tasting, bike helmets, teeth whitening and more. All proceeds from the event will be designated for the bridge repair project.

The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is a 67 mile recreational trail that connects Evansdale to Ely. In addition to La Porte City, the trail is designed to pass through the communities of Gilbertville, Brandon, Urbana, Center Point, Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids. The closing of the trail bridge in La Porte City 42 months ago prevents trail users from entering La Porte City from the north, unless they use the official nine mile detour on Canfield and Brandon roads. Repair of the bridge has taken on a sense of urgency, as some trail users are bypassing the two-lane county road detour in favor of even more dangerous options, including crossing Wolf Creek by clambering over the trail bridge barriers or using the existing railroad bridge. Others are making their way into town along U.S. Highway 218.

For additional information about the bridge repair project, visit the Cedar Trails Partnership Facebook page.