Lincoln Highway interpretive site may be finished this summer

After nearly a decade in the works, the Lincoln Highway interpretive site at the Lions Club Tree Park in Grand Junction may be completed this summer.

2012-01-01 00.00.00-108For the past several years, the site near the east end of the Highway 30 overpass in Grand Junction has reminded motorists of Stonehenge, with a row of stone-looking pillars in varying heights. Piles of rocks have been added at the base of the pillars more recently.

A large sign will be installed soon that explains the pillars. The pillars are actually stacks of wafers showing the population in Iowa. Each wafer represents 50,000 Iowans. Wire baskets of broken pieces of highway pavement at the base of each pillar represent the miles of paved roads in Iowa. Each inch in length of the basket represents 75 miles of paved roadway.

Yet to come are perforated steel panels that may resemble, from a distance, narrow fins. The pedestals for the fins are in place to the north of the pillars. Each perforation in the panel will represent 10 motor vehicles registered in Iowa. Greene County engineer Wade Weiss said the original design of the brackets holding the steel panels is inadequate, and that once the correct bracket is determined, the panels will be installed. He’s hopeful that can happen yet this summer.

The project has been so long in coming that it is outdated before it’s complete. Each pillar/basket/panel provides information from a decade, starting in 1910. The most recent decade represented is the decade that ended in 2010.

LH Interp 4National Lincoln Highway Association board member Bob Ausberger, who lives near the interpretive site, has promoted the project from the beginning. He met with the Greene County board of supervisors earlier this month and requested that the board appoint a committee to oversee the Lions Club Tree Park and the interpretive site. One role of the committee would be to coordinate placement of signs, a matter that has not been easy in recent years. Several signs that were posted last summer were later taken down when the placement didn’t meet the project guidelines.

Ausberger, supervisors Mick Burkett and John Muir, and county conservation director Dan Towers have been appointed to that committee. Grand Junction Lions Club members may be appointed in the future. Ausberger expects the committee will meet once or twice a year.

Two vehicle bridges and a rail bridge at the west end of the interpretive site
Two vehicle bridges and a rail bridge at the west end of the interpretive site

The interpretive site tells the history of transportation in Iowa, and particularly, the history of the Lincoln Highway. Most of the signage is already in place, telling the story of unpaved roads and the development of the Lincoln Highway. A pleasant walking trail from the parking area toward the west gives a view of three eras of Lincoln Highway bridges.

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