Keystone Bridge Update

The bridge is open to traffic!

As of December 1st, 2023, the bridge was re-opened to traffic.

Story on KWWL

Story on KCRG

There is still some work to be done in the spring such as completing stone repair. The permanent railing on the bridge will be installed this spring as well.

Bridge to reopen on December 1st!

Join us for a reopening celebration on December 1st from 4-6 p.m. at Central State Bank Lobby located at 102 N. Main Street. The event is hosted by Main Street Elkader and the Elkader Area Chamber of Commerce.  Click on this Bridge Reopen Celebration Invitation for more information.


View this short story on KCRG.

Check back for regular updates on the Keystone Bridge Construction.

View the webcam showing construction

Fundraising update

(as of December 12, 2023 – $19,054 from individual donors)


November 30, 2023 update:

The November 30, 2023 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

November 15, 2023 update:

The November 15, 2023 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

September 28, 2023 update:

The September 28, 2023 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

July 3, 2023 update:

The July 3, 2023 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

April 5, 2023 update:

The April 5, 2023 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

November 23, 2022 update:

The November 23, 2022 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

September 30, 2022 update:

We are happy to announce that the pedestrian access on the bridge has been restored!

Reminders from our engineers: the bridge is still an active construction site. Please remain within the designated walkway, do not linger unnecessarily on the bridge and remain aware of your surroundings. The contractor may have personnel onsite to temporarily hold pedestrians during specific operations. Please follow their instructions.

Thank you for your patience!

August 24, 2022 update:

The City Council received an update on the Keystone Bridge rehab project at their meeting on August 22, 2022.

  • At their meeting on July 18, 2022, the City Council approved the change order that would allow the repairs to be made to the bridge. This included the new causeway, berm and shoring.
  • On August 1st the IaDOT approved the change order.
  • The prime contractor has constructed a causeway on the east side of the river allowing the masonry sub-contractor to keep working on the east arch.
  • Footings are also being poured for the shoring. They anticipating starting to work on the shoring next week.
  • The City is waiting for final approval from the Iowa DNR for the protective berm for the shoring. The City is required to make the property owners on the west side of the river between the dam and the bridge aware of the berm and potential impact to their property should there be a high-water event.
  • The contractor is confident the project can still be completed based on the most recent schedule which would mean the pedestrian access will be open by mid to late September.

July 27, 2022 update:

The July 27, 2022 article from the Clayton County Register provides an update on the status of the bridge project.

July 18, 2022 update:

At their meeting on Monday, July 18, 2022, the Elkader City Council received cost estimates from the contractor to repair the Keystone Bridge and move forward with the rehab project.

The estimated construction cost for repairs is over $1.8 million. The timeline projects completion to be December 2023. However, pedestrian access should be restored by the end of September. Due to the prolonged construction schedule, other expenses associated with the project, such as engineering fees, also increase. The estimated new total for the project is over $6.8 million. Funding from the IaDOT and federal government paid for the original construction portion of the project ($3,792,853) leaving the City portion to be $3,095,504. Of that amount the City already bonded for $655,000 leaving $2,440,504 for the City to find now. Conversations have already begun on the state and federal level regarding additional funding.

Questions that have been received from the public:

Q. Is the City going to repair the bridge?

A. The City plans to move forward with the repairs and complete the rehab project.

Q. Will pedestrian access be reinstated? If so, when?

A. Pedestrian access will be reinstated as soon as the shoring is in place. This is scheduled to be done by the end of September. If a flood removes the shoring, then pedestrian access will be restricted again until the shoring can be re-installed.

Q. When will the project be completed?

A. The projected completion date is December 2023. This means the bridge will be closed over the winter.

Q. Most work on the bridge was halted in April. But crews were still on the bridge. What were they doing?

A. The masonry restoration sub-contractor was working on stabilizing the west arch of the bridge (injecting mortar, installing pins, grouting, tuckpointing and stone repair)

Q. What was involved in getting the designs for the shoring done?

A. There are companies nationwide that supply shoring and initially the contractor contacted several of those companies. Due to the unique nature of the Keystone Bridge it was decided that a specialized design would be needed. It took time to find a company to do the design work and to do the work rapidly. A good analogy offered by the contractor is that they essentially are building a bridge under the bridge. The stone restoration sub-contractor worked with the contractor and engineer to determine the best way to stabilize the stone using several different types of specialized mortar to allow them to work into the winter months.

Q. How will the additional cost be paid for?

A. The City is looking at grants that are for emergencies projects. They have already reached out to federal and state representatives and agencies to determine if there are other funding options. The City can also bond for a certain amount. This would be repaid with property taxes.

Q. Can we donate to the cause?

A. Many have suggested they would donate to this project and that is very much appreciated! We all need to work together to restore this local treasure.

There are several ways to donate. (Please be assured that the Bridge project is a separate fund and all donations go to that fund only.)

A button has been added to the front page of the website that provides several options. This is the page with several different options:

  • PayPal 
  • E-check or credit card. This is the same button used to pay other items for the city such as shelter reservation so use the “other” option for a donation. The credit card processing company charges a $2.00 fee for credit card transactions and $1.75 for e-checks. The amount of the transaction for e-checks is unlimited but the amount of the transaction for credit cards is $198.00.
  • The City has accounts at both banks in Elkader.
  • A paper check can be sent to PO Box 427 Elkader IA 52043

May 25, 2022 update:

May 25 2022 article from the Clayton County Register providing an update on the status of the bridge project.

May 13, 2022 update:

The City Council had tentatively planned to meet on Monday night (May 16th) to receive cost estimates and a timeline for the repair needed on the bridge. Unfortunately, the information needed is not available yet. The contractor is working diligently to get the needed information. This means that for now, the pedestrian access remains closed and we don’t have a timeline as to when it will reopen.
We will update you as soon as we know more.
Thank you for your patience!

May 10, 2022 update:

May 10th Clayton County Register article regarding the bridge project.

May 3, 2022 update:

May 3rd Clayton County Register article regarding the bridge project.

April 28, 2022 update:

This week’s Clayton County Register included a good summary of the current situation with the project. This is the April 26 2022 article.

March 22, 2022 Update:

This is a map that may be helpful during the detour:

March 4, 2022 UPDATE:

The bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning April 4th.  It will be closed until October.

There will always be a way for pedestrians to cross. Pedestrian access may change throughout the project so pedestrians will need to look for the signs.

You will begin to see activity next week as they build a causeway in the river. The stone restoration contractors will work from this causeway.

Keystone Park and the patio below will be closed.

December 3, 2021 UPDATE:

The project was rebid and CJ Moyna and Sons from Elkader, working with Taylor Construction from New Vienna, was awarded the contract for $3,612,241.81. Construction will begin in the Spring of 2022.

The project: removing and replacing the metal supports for the sidewalk; removing and replacing the sidewalk and railing; removing the pavement over the bridge and adding a waterproof membrane and stormwater drains and repaving in concrete. The concrete will extend to both intersections (to Main Street and to High Street). New storm sewer outlet on the Courthouse side of the bridge will also be installed. Overall repointing and repair of the masonry work will also be completed.

The construction portion of the project will be paid for by the Iowa Department of Transportation with a combination of City Bridge Funds and Competitive Highway Bridge Program (CHBP) from the federal government. Engineering expenses are paid for by the City.


One bid was received for this project during the March letting and it was rejected. The project will be re-bid during the Summer of 2021.

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