High Trestle Trail Bridge

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Art Type
Media / Materials
Year Completed
Polk County Conservation Commission
Latitude & Longitude
41.86609333250194, -93.87247681617737
Location Description
Northwest of Des Moines: the High Trestle Bridge spans the banks of the Des Moines River Valley and is located between the rural communities of Woodward and Madrid.

The High Trestle Bridge stands 13 stories high and spans ½ mile across the Des Moines River between Madrid and Woodward. The “portals” or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley. Seen from a distance, they become a destination “icon” that bracket the experience of crossing the river on this expansive trail bridge. Scale is one of the most important elements to the integration of these sculptural features. They must relate in size not only to the length of the span, over 2,300 feet across the river, hut also the height above the river valley, represented by massive columns, some nearly 130 feet tall. These icons visually “focus” the trail and set up the concept of entering a mine. Seams of coal appear in lighted veins in the stacked forms on the bridge landings.

One is inside the story, surrounded by the sculptural forms that embody history and geology. The changing geometry of the steel cribbing radiates around you. The viewer moves along the path as though moving through history, through the tunnel of a mine. Blue LED fixtures highlight the inside faces of each crib. The “High Trestle Trail Bridge is 35 feet tall x 12 feet wide x 2640 feet long. AWARDS: Iowa/ Minnesota Illuminating Engineering Society – Regional Lighting Section Award – 2012; AIA Iowa Chapter – Merit Excellence in Design Award – 2011; Illuminating Engineering Society of North America – National Lighting – Award of Merit – 2012; Public Art Network – “Year in Review” Listing of Top 50 Art Projects – 2012; and Architectural SSL Magazine – Product Innovation Award – 2012.

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