RAGBRAI (The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) riders will start flowing into Hiawatha sometime Thursday morning and the flow will continue the entire day as thousands upon thousands of them roll into town.

Well over 8,500 riders will pedal into Hiawatha, where an additional 15,000 people are actually expected to be in town, if only for 24 hours or so. Hiawatha's 2013 population was 7,145 so expect some traffic insanity for a short time and not just in Hiawatha, Thursday's overnight stop. Many will also overnight in Cedar Rapids, Marion, and likely Robins, Ely, and other area towns. They'll be riding just over 70 miles Thursday, making the trek from Cedar Falls.

As the riders approach, Hiawatha will be closing many city streets for about 24 hours starting mid-morning on Thursday. The closures include:

  • The route on Progress Drive, Lyndhurst Drive, and 15th Avenue
  • 10th Avenue north of Emmons Street
  • 12th Avenue from Cress Parkway to Langston Drive
  • Emmons Street from 6th Avenue to 10th Avenue
  • Miller Road north of Progress Drive
  • Eisenhower Road between 9th and 10th Avenue

See Thursday's complete route from Cedar Falls to Hiawatha here.

It's going to be an exciting day, no doubt with some frustration for drivers Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Please be patient and alert... the safety of thousands of riders depends on it.

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