New rapid added to whitewater course; work should finish today

Workers are putting the finishing touches on a new rapid being added to Columbus' $24.5 million whitewater course, Uptown Columbus Inc. CEO Richard Bishop confirmed Wednesday.

The new rapid is located in an otherwise flat stretch of the river north of City Mills.

The work began Tuesday and should be complete sometime today, Bishop said.

"We think it could be a Class II rapid," Bishop said.

Rick McLaughlin, a senior project manager with the McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group, which designed the whitewater course, was in town Wednesday to consult on the design of the new rapid. Bishop said it's common to bring in McLaughlin any time modifications are made to the course.

The work is being done by Scott Bridge Co. of Opelika, Ala. Cost of the project is not expected to exceed $80,000, Bishop said.

The course opened in May 2013. This is the first major course work done since a rapid was constructed between the 13th Street bridge and the 14th Street bridge. Like that rapid, which is called Pemberton's Falls, the new one will be better at low flow than high flow, Bishop said.

Meanwhile, Whitewater Express will open its new Chattahoochee Outdoor Academy Saturday, July 19, in the Phenix City building that served as its headquarters last year at 1303 Third Ave., the company announced Wednesday.

The grand opening will start at 9 a.m. and will feature a half-price stand-up paddle board clinic, a free kayak rolling clinic, bike rentals and kayak shuttling service.

Barbecue will be served.

The academy will feature flyfishing lessons for beginners and experts and classes in fly-tying, too.