Riverwalk a work in progress

Silt, sand and mud remain on the Riverwalk in the wake of flooding in January.
Silt, sand and mud remain on the Riverwalk in the wake of flooding in January. mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

There’s been plenty of talk lately about the last two gaps in the Chattahoochee Riverwalk finally being spanned over the next year.

Twenty years after the 22-mile linear park was opened, it will finally be one uninterrupted span from Lake Oliver Dam to Fort Benning.

But one problem with a project taking 20 years is that now that it’s about to be completed, most of it is now two decades old. And parts of it show it.

A reader and frequent user of the Riverwalk wrote to us recently to say he enjoyed the coverage of the progress, but suggested we follow up with another story.

“As a follow-up, it would be nice to see a story about the condition of the original and how it needs major work before it becomes dangerous,” wrote Roy Martin. “The trail has standing water on it after every rain and a big rain causes sand to accumulate on the trail and in some places covers the width of the trail.”

Martin said this is especially true on the lowest part of the trail, between Rigdon Park to the point downstream when the trail veers up and away from the river.

“The maintenance people come out and dig ditches to drain off the water, but they silt up and are not maintained until someone complains,” Martin said. “Also the pavement is coming up in hunks in several places and in other places it’s sinking in and cracking up in small pieces.”

Martin said perhaps it’s time to start a campaign to repave the whole thing.

That’s not being considered at this time, said City Manager Isaiah Hugley, but he did say that the city needs to do a reassessment of the entire Riverwalk to see what needs to be addressed.

The city did just such an assessment several years ago, and addressed things such as signage, drainage and painting of railings and benches that hadn’t seen paint in a while.

“We need to go out and do another assessment of what the Riverwalk needs,” Hugley said. “And we’re going to have to take another look at how we plan to fund the work.”