Bee Branch Tunnels Grand Opening

The Bee Branch Tunnels under the Chicago Pacific Railway in downtown Dubuque are officially open. Many cyclists and pedestrians are utilizing the trail. The two side-by-side box tunnels (center right above) are lighted and one-directional. The tunnels, located at the eastern end of the Bee Branch on Garfield Avenue, are part of a large reconstruction several years in the making. In addition, six 8-foot diameter tubes flow through three arches and channel water from the Bee Branch. The two bicycle/pedestrian box tunnels will also act as overflow drain tunnels if needed. The heavy rains of July 15 presented this situation, and it worked just as it was engineered.

Riders now have total trail connectivity from the Heritage Trail in Dyersville to the Mississippi River.  These new tunnels connect the Heritage Trail and Upper Bee Branch Trail to the Lower Bee Branch Trail. Then riders and walkers can cross Kerper Boulevard and use the Chaplin Schmitt Island Trail to get to the Mississippi River at Riverview Park. A Grand Opening Ceremony was held on June 24th with Mayor Brad Cavanaugh and others celebrating the project’s completion. More information on the tunnels and trail can be found at: Grand Opening Video with Mayor Brad Cavanaugh and Bee Branch History and Design or the city’s webpage. 

Chavenelle Trail Open

The last segment of the Chavenelle Bike Trail, from the Northwest Arterial to Radford Road, was completed by mid-May. All the grading has been done, and the grass has grown in surrounding this trail. This connects with the Northwest Arterial Trail south of the Pennsylvania/Middle Road intersection. The new segment lies north of Chavenelle and joins the 2-year-old section from Radford Road west. Spurs still head north to Pennsylvania and south around the Hormel plant to Bergfeld Pond. On any given day, lots of walkers and bikers are now using the trail. This new Northwest Arterial to Radford addition to Dubuque’s trail system is definitely worth checking out as soon as possible. (More photos on page 2).

Mobile Bike Library on the Move

Spotted at a Farmers’ Market on a recent Saturday, Tim Hitzler brought the library to the crowds. The Carnegie Stout Public Library added a bike mobile to its outreach program in 2019. While Covid delayed its usage in the beginning, now Hitzler is making the rounds with stops at the Farmer’s Market and other community events. A variation of the bus bookmobile of our childhoods, a beloved feature of warm summer days and the chance to read new books, the bike mobile has a 3-wheeled frame with a large box sitting on a flat space behind the seat. The box sides swing open to display shelved books. Patrons can come to visit, make their reading selections, and Hitzler checks out the materials. He also goes to nursing homes and care facilities too, although in winter he does not bike. The bike bookmobile brings the library to citizens and highlights another way to bring bicycle creativity and presence to the community.

America’s State Tree Walk at E.B. Lyons

                                                 State Tree Woodland Walk at E. B. Lyons

America’s State Tree Woodland Walk

        In summer, we often leave to go visit other places…far away. However, there are numerous trails close by. Several years ago, the E. B. Lyons Nature Center developed a trail dedicated to the state tree of all 50 states. America’s State Tree Woodland Walk is a handicap-accessible nature trail that leads to the preserve’s highest point. The trail is west of the large parking lot and runs northward out on a ridge. The trees have grown quite a bit.  

               The trees are grouped and planted by species. For example, several states share variations on the oak tree. The Bur Oak is the Iowa State Tree, Georgia claims the Live Oak, New Jersey enjoys the Northern Red Oak, and Connecticut, Illinois, and Maryland share the White Oak. Some of the other species are Elms, Maples, Pines, Spruce, and Flowering Dogwoods. Furthermore, five states’ trees are not on this trail due to our harsh winters but they are acknowledged.

               Come and take a hike to enjoy a wide range of trees so close to us.

Bike to Work Week – September 2020

  by Candace Eudaley

         Bike to Work Week 2020 had 64 registrants biking, walking or hiking over 1,600 miles! With over 200 people following the Bike to Work Week Facebook page, we know there are more people interested in the idea. The winner of the bike commuter kit, sponsored by Dupaco Community Credit Union, was Ken Miller. We owe a big thank you to our sponsors and partners, Dubuque Bike Coop, Dupaco Community Credit Union and Tri-State Trail Vision. A special thanks goes out to Jim Saul for running the Facebook page and helping people plan their routes



City Engineer Jon Dienst Reports on 2020 Improvements

         City Engineer Jon Dienst attended the September 24th meeting of Tri-State Trail Vision to update us on city trail projects.

1. The new Chavenelle Trail segment from Seippel to Radford Road was completed this spring. The Radford to Northwest Arterial segment will be completed next spring. The ten-foot wide concrete trail sits on the north side of Chavenelle Drive.

2. Eventually the city hopes to create a trail on Seippel, south to the Southwest Arterial, which is have a trail in maybe five years with an expected cost of $5-6 million, and then loop up to the Key West Tech Park via some city-owned land along Granger Creek. Eventually this would connect to the Mines of Spain.

3. The Kerper Bike Trail is to be built during the summer of 2021 on the west side of the Bee Branch Detention Basin, behind the Alliant Solar Field, and connect to 16th Street. This is fully funded via an IDOT Transportation Alternatives Program.

4. The Public Works Pedestrian Access Ramps have been completed for the summer. Many ramps were installed with updated street construction.

5. The East-West Corridor project on University with roundabouts at Pennsylvania, Asbury, and Loras is at a standstill as state funding is not assured at this time. On-street bike lanes are expected with this project.

6. The Bee Branch tunneling project is expected to be finished in the summer of 2021. Six 8-foot diameter pipes are in, and the existing drain becomes the new trail.

7. Dienst explained some elements of the 2022 Budget Process. The city considers carbon reduction efforts and continuing Complete Streets planning, both of which are high on the City Council’s plans, as part of the budget process.

8. Wally Wernimont is the new Planning Services Manager, who replaced the newly-retired Laura Carstens.

Chavenelle Trail – Heading West

        More trails on Dubuque’s west side are falling into place after years of planning. Delayed a year, the Chavenelle Road trail project came to light this spring when the western portion from Seippel Road to Radford Road was completed. City Engineer Jon Dienst noted how this project stay on time with nearly perfect weather conditions and few construction setbacks. The eastern section from Radford Road to the Northwest Arterial will be completed next spring. Connecting with the Bergfeld Pond trail, the Middle Road spur, and the Northwest Arterial trail, the Chavenelle Trail will ensure a safe off-road trail for riders of all ages and abilities.

Bee Branch/S. John Deere Road Tunnel Sports a New Connector Trail

         For those who travel on the Bee Branch/Heritage Trail between 32nd Street and Heritage Pond, watch for oncoming bike and pedestrian traffic just north of the South John Deere Road tunnel. A new connector trail has been constructed between the Heritage Trail Lot on S. John Deere Road and the trail. No longer will riders who park in the lot have to cross the busy S. John Deere Road or park in the electric company’s driveway.