Mississippi River Regional Trail Project in Dakota County Nearing Completion

The Mississippi River Regional Trail (MRRT) is a project in Dakota County that is being mostly funded by Federal grants and the rest by Dakota County.  When completed, it will stretch 27 miles from Kaposia Park in South St. Paul to the City of Hastings trail system, providing cyclists with a paved, non-motorized use trail along the river.
The MRRT will include many incredible views of the Mississippi River. It will meander through the wooded 200 foot high bluffs of the Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) in Inver Grove Heights and the scenic overlook at Schaar's Bluff-Spring Lake Park Reserve in Nininger Township.
This trail is unique in the fact it will be allowed to pass through the Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), one of the least disturbed natural areas along the Mississippi River in the Metro area.
View from Schaar's Bluff at the Spring Lake Park Reserve Trailhead
The MRRT is a project that is broken into seven phases of construction.  Two of them are completed and already have cyclists that frequent them.  The North segment starts at the Trailhead at Kaposia Landing Park in South St. Paul and continues on along Concord Blvd. to Highway 52 in Inver Grove Heights.  The Trailhead for the South-East segment begins at the Spring Lake Park Reserve at Schaar's Bluff and continues it's route downstream through sections of woods and farm fields towards the Spring Lake levee, Lock & Dam No. 2 and along the Hastings waterfront.  
Completed section of trail near the Schaar's Bluff Trailhead
I spoke with Todd Howard, who is the Asst. County Engineer for Dakota County, about when they expect to start and complete construction of the remaining segments of the MRRT.  He told me the following:
  •  Central Segment construction to begin early this spring and be completed late summer.  This segment starts near Concord and Cahill and continues south for about 1.5 miles.
  • The Pine Bend Bluffs segment is expected to start late this fall and be completed early summer 2013.
  • The Rosemount segment will be constructed in 2013.
  • The Spring Lake segments will not be completed until 2014.
When completed, the MRRT will be a pleasant ride along a 10 foot wide path with many scenic overlooks and connections to local parks and city trail systems.  Being from the Hampton area, I ride the South-East segment at the Spring Lake Park Reserve into the City of Hastings Trails a lot, making  this one trail I look forward to completion and  I intend to ride quite often.

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