By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Bikes will abound Saturday as RAGBRAI riders descend upon Clinton to dip their tires in the Mississippi River, symbolizing the end of their 468-mile journey.
Read more on RAGBRAI and view photos.
Marsha Smith, Director of the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau was informed the bulk of riders would arrived between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
However, riders could appear as early as 7 or 8 a.m.
Drivers should watch for riders and be aware of the numerous road closures that will be in effect all day Saturday. According to Captain James Klaes, barriers for the following roads will be set up around 5:30 to 6 a.m. Saturday morning, volunteers will arrive to man them around 7 a.m.
Riders will enter from Route 136/Main Avenue and turn right onto Mill Creek Parkway. Mil Creek Parkway will be closed to traffic from Main Street to 13th Avenue North.
Nineteenth Avenue Northwest will be closed from the Mill Creek Parkway to Springdale Drive. Springdale Drive will be closed from 19th Avenue Northwest to North Bluff Boulevard. North Bluff Boulevard will be closed from Fourth Avenue North to Seventh Avenue North. Seventh Avenue North will be closed from North Bluff Boulevard to North Third Street. North Third Street will be closed from Seventh Ave North to Ninth Avenue North. Ninth Avenue North will be closed from North Third Street through Riverview Drive.
Klaes hopes to have these street barricades down around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Riverview Drive will also be closed from Sixth Avenue North to Ninth Avenue North. Klaes hopes to have the Riverview Drive barricades taken down around 7:30 p.m.
Officers will be manning the intersection at Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue North to direct southbound traffic. Officers will also direct traffic at Second Street and Ninth Avenue North. Traffic will be detoured to Second Street, Second Avenue South and 13th Avenue North. Several side streets will also be open only to local traffic during this time.
Klaes advises drivers to use caution on Saturday.
“Realize traffic going north and south will be limited and their will be delays. It’s a great day for Clinton and we need to be kind and considerate,” Klaes said.
An informational tent will be set up in the parking lot on Springdale Drive across from Ashford University where riders will be able to get water and examine their bikes. Another tent will be set up in “vendor village” near the dip site and the city RV Park on Ninth Avenue North. Food vendors, bike shops, bike shippers and other vendors will be set up throughout the day. Four bands will perform beginning at 11 a.m. HAM radios will also be posted about town for riders who might be unable to locate their group.
“There will be music and food all day,” Smith said. “It’s really an intricate event.”
Smith said she still expects to see an economic impact on Friday as well as Saturday. She said all the hotels in Clinton are booked this weekend and anticipates possible campers in Riverview Park overnight.
Some thoughts originally surfaced that riders would arrive on Saturday and immediately return home, tired from the 468-mile ride.
“Surprisingly that doesn’t seem to be the case,” she said.
The YWCA will also be offering showers to riders for $5 and the Clinton Community Pool will charge $3 for all patrons, including RAGBRAI riders.
Smith advised residents to be aware and helpful to the influx of visitors.
‘There’s going to be a lot of visitors in our city and we want them to feel comfortable. If you see someone looking around, ask them if they need help. Let’s try to make this as friendly a town as possible.”