Update: Council approves contractors for final two RiverWalk connections

The Chattahoochee Riverwalk will have to go up and over this hill next to the North Highlands Dam.
The Chattahoochee Riverwalk will have to go up and over this hill next to the North Highlands Dam. mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

Columbus Council approved two contractors chosen to build the last two missing links in the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, which will finally make the 22-mile linear park complete from City Marina to Fort Benning.

The estimated cost of the two projects will be $8.6 million for the bridge over the North Highlands Dam and $1.2 million for the stretch that will run between the two City Mills buildings currently undergoing restoration. The $9.8 million total will come from Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenues.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley presented the proposals to Columbus Council this morning for their approval, which was granted unanimously.

Scott Bridge Co. was chosen from among the bidders for the larger of the two projects, the North Highlands Dam. Southeastern Site Development Co., out of Newnan, Ga., was chosen for the City Mills piece, a 75-foot connection between where the RiverWalk now stops on the north side of the TSYS campus and where it picks back up on the north side of City Mills.

Scott Bridge is out of Opelika, Ala., but is no stranger to working in Columbus. The company was the principal contractor in the whitewater rafting project and has been involved in other local projects also. Scott Bridge will subcontract with a local company, Alexander Contracting, on the RiverWalk project.

Southeastern Site Development will agree to work in concert with the contractors restoring the City Mills complex to create the 12-foot-wide concrete path between the buildings and to create a plaza there that will include landscaping, lighting and benches. The company has done previous work on the RiverWalk and the Fall Line Trace for the city.

City Planning Director Rick Jones said that since the two projects are being handled by different contractors and are a good distance apart, he thinks the two will be done concurrently. But he expects the City Mills project to take much less time because of the relatively small scale of the project.

Work should begin in about 60 days, once the contracts are signed, Jones said. He wasn’t sure how long the smaller project would take, but he said he expects the North Highlands Dam project to take about a year.

The road off First Avenue leading down to the dam and the parking lot must remain open during construction because of the whitewater rafting and Georgia Power access to the dam itself, Jones said.

“We’re excited to see it get started,” Jones said. “It will be nice to see it get done and see the entire RiverWalk finally connected.”

In a related matter, councilors will also be asked to approve Alexander Contracting, the North Highlands Dam subcontractor, for a $6.5 million project to widen the 2.1-mile stretch of Forrest Road from Floyd Road to Schatulga Road.