Nichols City Council learns about proposed bridge projects

The Nichols City Council heard from Drainage District Two about their concerns with an old bike trail bridge near the Douglas Avenue Bridge. (File Photo)

NICHOLS, Iowa–At the Feb. 10 Nichols City Council meeting, Kory Kaalberg, a representative from Drainage District Two, shared plans for upcoming bridgework near Nichols and requested their support for the project and for removing an old bike trail bridge that could pose a flooding hazard.

This year, Muscatine County plans to replace the Douglas Avenue Bridge, located in Pike Township not far from Nichols. This new, taller bridge will allow significantly more water to flow under it, reducing the risk for flooding. However, an old bike trail bridge nearby at the Big Slough Creek South Levee could still prove a threat to Nichols and the surrounding area.

Though few records exist for the trail bridge, the Drainage District believes the Hoover Nature Trail Group built it in the early 2000s. Much shorter than both the levee and the new Douglas Avenue Bridge, the old trail bridge could create a dam during a heavy rainstorm. This, in turn, could cause the levee to fail, creating serious flooding problems for neighboring properties.

To reduce these risks, Kaalberg intimated that the Drainage District would like it taken down. Because of the new Douglas Avenue Bridge’s greater width, he thought pedestrians and bicyclists could use it safely alongside traffic and that it could include a designated bike lane.

Eager to get the old trail bridge attended to, the Drainage District wrote a letter of concern to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, who took over the Hoover Nature Trail’s lands, requesting them mitigate this flooding hazard. Kaalberg requested the Council support this request. They did unanimously. Moving forward, the Drainage District plans to share their concerns with the County Engineer and County Attorney as well.

In other new business, the Nichols City Council held three public hearings, one concerning levying the maximum property tax rate, one for supporting a United States Department of Agriculture Grant for the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department, and one to apply for the Community Development Block Grant for the sewer modernization project. The council supported each of the propositions unanimously.