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Client Name
Dallas County
Client Type
Project Type
Services Provided
  • ADA Compliance Review & Analysis
  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Planning
  • Boundary & Retracement Surveys
  • Bridge Concept & Feasibility Studies
  • Bridge Construction Engineering
  • Bridge Design
  • Construction Administration
  • Construction Observation
  • Construction Staking
  • Environmental Permitting
  • Environmental Studies
  • Funding Assistance
  • Public Engagement & Meeting Facilitation
  • Topographic Survey & Subsurface Utility Engineering
  • Trail Design & Planning
  • Trailhead & Oasis Design
Project Manager
Contact Rich Voelker, PE
Transportation Business Unit Leader

This project extended the popular Raccoon River Valley Trail in Dallas and Guthrie Counties to create a 72-mile long paved recreational trail loop—one of the longest in the nation. The trail was paved 10-feet wide and follows a rail-banked railroad corridor.

Due to funding schedules and local budgets, the extension was split into several construction projects. The first project, constructed in 2008, involved the rehabilitation of a 900-foot long bridge over the Raccoon River and improvements to two box culverts between the towns of Dawson and Perry. The Dawson to Perry segment of the trail was completed in 2010. The following year, Dallas Center was connected to the Waukee segment that was previously constructed in 2009. Construction on the trail segment between Perry and Minburn began in 2011 and was completed in early 2012. Construction on the two final segments connecting Jamaica to Dawson and Minburn to Dallas Center began in 2012 and were completed in spring 2013. The gap between Herndon and Jamaica was finished just in time for the grand opening celebration of the trail loop held on June 1, 2013.

Snyder & Associates was the lead design firm on this project. Our team provided land surveying services including preliminary survey, boundary survey, and construction staking. Professional design services included trail alignment and profile design, and bridge and culvert rehabilitation detailing.

The alignment and profile of a trail on abandoned railroad grade doesn’t typically require much adjustment. However, Dallas County capitalized on the trail construction as an opportunity to adjust the profile of some of their gravel roads.  At many intersections, the roadway profile changed grade drastically to meet the profile of the railroad. This inhibited sight distance, making several intersections unsafe. Snyder & Associates incorporated flatter roadway profiles into the projects, designing the trail profile to meet the improved roadway.

The Raccoon River Valley Trail Extension project involved three bridge rehabilitations, two box culvert improvements, and one box culvert replacement. Shuck-Britson, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Snyder & Associates, prepared detailed plans to convert these railroad structures for trail use.

In conjunction with the design of the project, Snyder & Associates provided the order of magnitude cost opinions for use in funding applications, detailed construction cost opinions for each segment, and obtained the NPDES Permit for the projects on behalf of the County. Coordination with the Iowa DOT was required, as the trail crossed State Highways 44 and 169. Our team also performed a hydrologic and hydraulic analysis of the box culvert to be replaced between Herndon and Jamaica and coordinated with the Iowa DNR and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the submittal of a Joint Application for the box culvert replacement.

Snyder & Associates also provided construction administration and construction observation services for each segment of the project. The first three projects were let through the Iowa DOT, using Iowa DOT specifications. Snyder & Associates administered local lettings for each of the remaining projects, utilizing SUDAS specifications.