Work could begin this fall on repairs to the Dug Road portion of Trout Run Trail. Landslides along the trail closed it last year as part of the hillside it is on slid down towards the Upper Iowa River.
Soil samples of the area of the slide have been taken and have been analyzed. They have discovered a "slip plane" 18 feet below the surface of the trail. That meant that when heavy rains hit the trail--as they did last fall--the base of the trail would slip down the hillside.
The solution will be to remove those 18 feet of rock and put in 1.5 foot tall "pillows" of rock wrapped in fabric. The pillows allow for a little bit of shifting, but keep the trail base stable. Crews can remove the 18 feet of rock and possibly reuse it in making the pillows after the rock has been through a grinder.
Local officials are in the process of preparing cost estimates for such a project, but FEMA officials have already given the idea preliminary approval. That's important because 70 percent of the project's cost would be paid with federal FEMA funds and another 15 percent with State of Iowa emergency funds, leaving the City of Decorah on the hook for just 15 percent of the cost.
The people working on the project say it would provide "a permanent fix" to the shifting of Dug Road Trail.
Work on the project would begin this fall, with paving done early next spring.
The project does not include installing a new bridge along the Dug Road portion of Trout Run Trail--city officials will study that possibility in 2019.