First phase of Mississippi River Trail signage between Hastings, Iowa border completed
MnDOT celebrates milestone on Minnesota’s first state bikeway
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation has completed its first installation of guidance signage on a segment of the 10-state Mississippi River Trail between Hastings, Minn., and the Iowa border.
Many partners, including MnDOT, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Minnesota, the U.S. National Park Service, Mississippi River Trail, Inc., and representatives from several cities and counties, celebrated the milestone with other project supporters at a ribbon-cutting event at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn., on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
The first of a three-year signing effort, phase one was completed between August and September 2013, directing bicyclists along 148 miles between Hastings and the Iowa border. Signs along the Hastings to Elk River segment of the bikeway will be installed in 2014, and the segment between Elk River and Lake Itasca in 2015.
Minnesota’s segment of the Mississippi River Trail follows the river roughly 600 miles from its source at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border. Located largely on road shoulders, the route also includes segments of scenic state, regional and local trails. Minnesota’s route, sometimes on both sides of the river, totals more than 800 miles.
In 2012 the Minnesota Legislature designated the Mississippi River Trail as Minnesota’s first state bikeway under the commissioner of transportation. The route was also designated as U.S. Bicycle Route 45, Minnesota’s first bikeway in this national network. The new “MRT” signs allow bicyclists to confidently follow a marked route so they can enjoy the Mississippi River Trail as it winds through a river landscape filled with natural, cultural and recreational amenities.
The Oct. 2 event was hosted by the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, one of more than 70 interpretive center located on the banks of the Mississippi.
The event also coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Great River Road, a parkway celebrating the Mississippi River that was conceived in 1938 by the governors of the 10 river states and envisioned as a continuous byway network of existing roads.
Photo: Members of the Wabasha Bicycle Club and representatives of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission of Minnesota, the U.S. National Park Service, Mississippi River Trail, Inc., and other supporters joined MnDOT Oct. 2 to celebrate the MRT milestone at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn.