High Praise for the High Trestle Trail Bridge

A recent BBC Culture article gives this Central Iowa icon, some very international attention, listing it as one of the TOP eight AMAZING footbridges in the world!

We’re honored to be part of a team that includes Snyder & Associates, Inc. Polk County Conservation , Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and the Iowa Department of Transportation, all contributors to this “amazing” project.

“From Here to There,” is a public art integration designed for the High Trestle Trail Bridge through a collaboration between RDG Dahlquist Art Studio, RDG Planning and Design, and many other professional disciplines and contractors.  The installation represents a tour de force in the combination and coordination of art, architecture, and engineering. The installation is the centerpiece that connects over 600 miles of trail, making this bridge a destination icon and new cultural landmark.

The project began with research, including hiking the banks of the River, photography, and trips to local museums. A series of meetings in each community along the trail provided public input and investment. A narrative emerged, based on geology in the formation of the river valley and local coal mining history.


48′ tall precast concrete monoliths frame the gateway to the bridge. Over 16,500 individual glazed ceramic tiles represent seams of coal along the banks of the river.

Corten steel cribs change geometry, rotated at 15º angles, to create the illusion and experience of traveling through a mineshaft. The steel cribs are continuously welded to matching plates bolted into the parapet.


Blue LED fixtures highlight the inside faces of each crib and create a dynamic ambiance. Other integrated lighting safely illuminates the bridge deck as well as the columns and valley below.

Recipient of 2011 AIA Iowa Chapter Excellence in Design Merit Award; 2012 Sectional Lighting Award, Iowa/ Minnesota Illuminating Engineering Society; 2012 National Lighting Award of Merit, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America; 2012 Product Innovation Award, Architectural SSL Magazine; and Public Art Network’s “Year in Review,” number 12 of over 400 international projects.


Related Posts
RDG in the Media: A Space for Everyone
RDG Planning & Design Expands Offices to Ames
Ranked among ENR’s TOP 100 Green Design Firms
Omaha office welcomes intern Ashley Goslar

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage