Bridge Connecting Downtown to Gray’s Lake is Almost Complete

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  There will soon be a more convenient way to get to Gray’s Lake. A couple big construction projects on Gray’s Lake are close to being finished.

Starting in October, you will no longer have to drive your car to get to Gray’s Lake. Hubbell Reality Company is constructing a 400-foot bridge and a half a mile-long trail from MLK Parkway to Gray’s Lake.

“It’s an urban community down here, what we are trying to do is give people access to a recreational, outdoor lifestyle, rather than just the hustle and bustle of downtown,” Gray’s Station Land Development Project Manager Eric Bohnenkamp said.

The City of Des Moines said one million people come to Gray’s Lake every year. By early to mid-October, they will be able to walk or bike directly from downtown to Gray’s Lake on the new half-mile trail through Gray’s Station, Hubbell’s new housing development, and the pedestrian bridge over Raccoon River.

Hubbell Realty Company will gift the $4 million bridge to the city. Once the project is complete, the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department will take over maintenance of the bridge. The department didn’t know how much that will cost each year or who would pay for it. But they said it’ll be a great addition to the park.

“We’re just waiting for the bridge to be complete and then we can asphalt the trail along the water there and then we’ll be good to go, we can open the road again, there will be more parking and it will just be easier for people to use the park,” Des Moines Parks and Recreation Marketing Manager Jen Fletcher said.

The 400-foot-long bridge was designed after the history of the land.

“We took the history of the land use that was here originally which was the Norfolk Southern Railway for the last number of years, we kind of played on that, as you can see the rustic look of the bridge it’s kind of a play on the railroad use that was here,” Bohnenkamp said.

A rustic bridge with a bright twist.

“There will be multiple different colors and color aspects with the bridge, and we can light it pink for breast cancer month, or blue for autism awareness any other function like that the city will be able to change the lighting scheme on the bridge,” Bohnenkamp said.

The other big project on Gray’s Lake is Water Works Park’s multi-million-dollar walking tunnel that goes underneath Fleur Drive and connects Water Works Park to Gray’s Lake. Water Works Park said that it will be finished before the end of the year.

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