Iowa's Mississippi River Trail

Iowa Route
Mississippi Trail Route Map

In Iowa, in-depth analysis has been used to determine the best route for the bike trail and a strategic plan for implementation.

Iowa's Mississippi River Trail is envisioned to include both off-road bicycle trails and clearly marked bicycle lanes on roadway shoulders.

On-Road Segments

On-road bicycle lanes are generally less costly than off-road bicycle trails. Iowa's MRT will include 255 total miles of bicycle lanes on roadway shoulders, some of which are already existing or planned.

An analysis has determined which roadways along the route are suitable for the addition of bicycle lanes. Eastern Iowa is home to the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway that follows the Mississippi River from border to border. This and other roadways, with minor improvements, can be made to safely and affordably accommodate bicycles. About 205 miles of paved shoulders will need to be constructed for new MRT bicycle lanes.

All bicycle lanes will be four to six feet wide and paved with asphalt, which is generally less expensive than concrete. In addition, about two miles of bridges may need to be redecked in order to accommodate bicycle lanes. The total estimated cost associated with on-road bicycle lanes is $25.3 million.

Off-Road Segments
Iowa's MRT will incorporate already existing or planned off-road bike trails, including the Heritage Trail in Dubuque, the RiverWay Trails in the Quad Cities, and many others. Only an additional nine miles of new off-road trails will need to be constructed where roadways were found to be unsuitable for bicycle lanes.

The MRT's off-road bike trails will be 10 feet wide to accommodate both bicyclists and pedestrians. The total estimated cost of paving new bicycle trails with asphalt is $920,000.