Inspired works of public art and architecture are not, thankfully, a privilege accorded only to metropolis-dwellers. One of the more poetic public works in recent years is, without a doubt, Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge, a half-mile long expanse over the Des Moines River, distinguished by a series of immensely photogenic geometric steel elements that rise some 130 feet above the Des Moines River Valley.
Completed in 2011, the bridge marks a distinct point in the 25-mile High Trestle Trail—an elevated pedestrian and bicycle trail built on what was once a Union Pacific Railroad track—which winds through five Iowa towns and four counties. The multidisciplinary firm RDG Planning & Design conceived of the bridge’s artful elements, strategically spacing the striking steel ‘cribbing’ in concert with the distance between the bridge’s supporting concrete columns, and composing a symbolic entryway into the coal mines that remain a potent part of Iowans’ cultural heritage.
Offering breathtaking panoramic views of natural beauty during the day, the High Trestle Trail Bridge remains an equally mesmerizing sight at night, thanks to RDGs thoughtfully designed LED lighting scheme, which casts a blue-hued light on the bridge’s deck, a glowing visual cue to the water below.Images: Homemade Iowa Life; Iowa Bicycle Coalition