Bicycling and other outdoor enthusiasts for yearshave sought a notable metro recreational jewel, perhaps reminiscent of the trail in Sioux Falls, which runs on top of a dike hugging next to the Big Sioux River. Stanek said it has been frustrating to see longer trails in Yankton, Sioux Falls and the Okoboji area become drawing spots for bicyclists.

"It is kind of puzzling why it has taken Sioux City so long," he said.

Stanek added that once the middle connector is done to the two trail ends, he will move his 1-to-10 rating of the trail from an 8 to "a 9 when they complete it, almost a 10."

To answer Stanek's question as to why it took so long, there was the need for trail funding and the complex process of getting the area near the old Floyd channel, sometimes called Bacon Creek, lined up for work.

Salvatore said slowing factors were the multi-year process of getting a building permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work in a flood plain, plus coordination with the BNSF, whose track runs through the area. On top of that, there was a need towait until some pieces of the 11-year project by the Iowa Department of Transportationto expand Interstate 29 in Sioux City from four to six lanes were completed.

The trail project also involved some complexity regarding building two bridges over the Floyd River and old Floyd channel in the new 1.5-mile section. Salvatore said the paving, which had an estimated cost of $2.6 million, went well.

"It is a much anticipated trail length for Sioux City, for a continuous stretch of 10 miles," Salvatore said. "This is something people have been waiting for a long time.

Bob DeSmidt, of Sioux City, a past president of the Siouxland Trails Foundation, has said severalresidents in 2003 came together and expressed "concernsabout the sorry state of our local recreational trail system," which led to the foundation's creation. The foundation members for years prodded officials for a full trail along the rivers.

One person who doesn't know any of the trail backstory is Chris Nelson, of Omaha, who was jogging it for the first time on Wednesday.

Nelson noted that while the Missouri River flows by Omaha, there is no conceivable way a trail could be in the vicinity of it, so he said Siouxlanders should like what they have - - a modern trail by major rivers.

"It is nice, it is a well put-together system," he said. "I really enjoyed the trail."