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DES MOINES – The Water Trails Project is finally taking its first steps towards starting construction. The project which has been years in the making started its bid process Wednesday, February 2nd.

Construction companies will have until March 29th to submit bids for the project. A contract will be awarded on April 21st.

This bid period is longer than past bid periods. City Councilman and chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Joe Gatto said that due to the unique nature of the projects more time was required for contractors to put together bids.

“This would include Prospect Park, Birdland Marina amenities, Scott Avenue, and Harriet’s. The Scott Avenue you need some kind of a bridge contractor to work on that along with an excavator and someone that specializes in dirt-moving,” Gatto said. “So we’ve been in contact with some of them to make sure that’s not going to delay the project. and we’ll be able to keep moving forward.”

The Water Trails Project aims to transform over 150 miles of waterways in the Des Moines area. There are plans to eventually mitigate the Center Street and Scott Avenue dams on the Des Moines River to allow tubing or kayaking down the river.

A comprehensive list of the plans for Iowa’s water trails is available on the Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization’s website.