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The newest bike path section in Bettendorf is so popular with bicyclists, officials said it was a challenge to have lines painted along the path, separated several yards from U.S. 67 on the east edge of the city.

The segment represents Bettendorf's last section of the Mississippi Riverfront Trail, and it was celebrated on Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting event.

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher talked about the "connectivity" that exists between Bettendorf and communities up and down the Mississippi River.

Currently, cyclists can travel from Princeton, Iowa, to Concord Street in west Davenport. Some of the trail is separated from U.S. 67, some of it is in the form of four-foot-wide shoulders along the highway.

From start to finish, the Mississippi River Trail stretches more than 3,000 miles of on-road bike lanes and pedestrian and bicycle paths from the river's headwaters in Itasca, Minnesota, to the Gulf of Mexico.

Bettendorf's portion on Tuesday featured a new bridge over Crow Creek and cost $670,000. It was designed by Bryce Johnson of J&M Civil Design, Bettendorf, and built by Valley Construction, Rock Island.

Johnson described the site as somewhat challenging, as it involved a ditch and a creek and was along a busy highway.

The permitting process, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and other government bodies was more complex, but it ended with a steel-and-concrete bridge that is placed high over the creek.

These bike trails add to the overall health of the Quad-Cities and are attractive to tourists, the Bettendorf mayor said.

Decker Ploehn, Bettendorf city administrator, is with the Quad-City Health Initiative and Be Healthy Quad-Cities. The trail project is a collaborative effort to promote overall health in the community, he said.

The trail transitions to the highway shoulders east of 62nd Street Court, according to Steve Grimes, director of the Bettendorf Parks and Recreation Department. 

Talks are going on now with LeClaire and the Bi-State Regional Commission, Denise Bulat said, while sitting on her bicycle on the new trail portion. A separate trail from the highway will wind through LeClaire, and ultimately, Princeton as well.

But Bulat, an avid bicyclist in addition to being executive director of the Bi-State Regional Commission, said the wide shoulders on U.S. 67 are a "huge improvement" on the route, overall.

Bettendorf now has 13 miles of separated trails, two miles of bike lanes along a roadway and 12 miles of recreation trails along greenways and the Mississippi River.

In addition to the separate trail celebrated in Bettendorf on Tuesday, a trail along Forest Grove Road from Utica Ridge Road to International Drive is to be completed this year. There also are bike lanes that will be built along Forest Grove Road.