A project that would receive 75 percent of its funding from FEMA could begin this fall on the west end of the Dug Road section of the Trout Run Trail  that was damaged in flooding in August, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
A project that would receive 75 percent of its funding from FEMA could begin this fall on the west end of the Dug Road section of the Trout Run Trail that was damaged in flooding in August, 2016. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
A public hearing on plans and specifications for repairs to part of the Dug Road section of the Trout Run Trail estimated to cost about $500,000 has been set for the Decorah City Council’s Nov. 6 meeting.
A portion of the trail collapsed after flooding Aug. 20, 2016, and city staff members have been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on proposed solutions since then.
FEMA paid for a soil analysis and study to better understand what happened and determine if the trail would collapse again. Because the report indicated some stable soils at a deeper depth, FEMA and City Engineer Lindsay Erdman believe the site could be stabilized and improved.
FEMA will cover 75 percent of the cost of the project, the state will fund 10 percent and the city will be responsible for 15 percent, in addition to ineligible costs, Erdman told the Council Monday night. He said the city might want to widen the trail to 10 feet because of its high usage.
FEMA’s plan calls for removing “spoiled” or sliding soils to a depth of 15 to 20 feet in the 400-foot section of trail and replacing it with modified and conditioned soil to stabilize the trail section that overlooks the Upper Iowa River. The soils would be reinforced with fabric, similar to a retaining wall, according to Erdman.
The project would be completed in two parts, with the soil work completed in the fall/winter and the final paving of the section in the spring.
City Manager Chad Bird said the Council has the option to “do nothing” with the damaged section of trail, which reopened after some temporary repairs, but is not paved like the rest of the trail.
“Given how much the trail is used and beloved by the community, doing nothing is probably not an option,” Bird commented.
He also said if nothing is done, it is doubtful FEMA would ever consider partnering with the city on repairs to this section of trail in the future.
Erdman said the pavement on the Dug Road section of the Trout Run Trail is 25 years old and the entire length may be due for repaving.
Park-Rec Director Andy Nimrod said the intergovernmental 28E committee that oversees the trail maintenance is interested in exploring repaving the Dug Road section in conjunction with the FEMA project.
“There might be community members interested in participating (financially) to make sure we do it right now as opposed to a short cut … we have time to see if those opportunities are there,” Nimrod said.