Bridge 2 Bridge Celebration Marks Grand Opening of the McFarlane Park Bridge on the Cedar Valley Nature Trial
On May 4th, 2013, the City of La Porte along with the Black Hawk County Conservation Board will host the Grand Opening Ceremony for the McFarlane Bridge on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. The trail sustained heavy damage due to the floods of 2008 causing sections of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail to close until repairs could be made. With the opening of the Evansdale Bridge in 2011 and now the McFarlane Bridge opening in 2013, the Cedar Valley Nature Trail will again connect communities along its entire 52 mile corridor. Come and enjoy the “Bridge-2-Bridge” celebration with us.
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is a segment of the American Discovery Trail and is one of the countries oldest rail trails. This trail is a vital part of the Cedar Valley’s recreational infrastructure and links the Cedar Valley to communities south to Cedar Rapids.
The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4th at the trailhead near the entrance of McFarlane Park located at 13619 King Road, LaPorte City. The celebration will begin at 11:00am with music by “The Ramblers” and the LaPorte City Fire Rescue crew will be serving a pulled pork lunch for $5.00. The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 1:00pm. Guests are encouraged to bike to the event. Vehicle parking is available in the Group Camp area of McFarlane Park.
THE HISTORY OF McFARLANE BRIDGE “CEDAR VALLEY ROAD”
In The Beginning
The Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern (WCF&N) interurban rail line (aka, the “Cedar Valley Road”) was an electric rail line that provided passenger and freight service between Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Waverly, IA.
The McFarlane Bridge was built in 1912-13 by the Gould Construction Company of Davenport, Iowa, using the same design as the Evansdale Bridge. In a July 19, 1913 article in the Electric Railway Journal it states that “all bridges and culverts were designed and build under the supervision of T.E.(Thomas Edsall) Rust, Chief Engineer of the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railway.
The McFarlane Bridge was the largest of the concrete arch bridges built along the WCF&N line and appears to have been the longest reinforced concrete bridge in the state.