published Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Tennessee Riverwalk section closing for repairs

A cyclist rides past a "Trail closed" sign, not yet in place, on  the Tennessee Riverwalk on Saturday. A section of the popular recreation area between the Chickamauga Dam and the Hubert Fry Fishing Center will be be closed for two weeks beginning Monday to repair a collapsed drain pipe.
A cyclist rides past a "Trail closed" sign, not yet in place, on the Tennessee Riverwalk on Saturday. A section of the popular recreation area between the Chickamauga Dam and the Hubert Fry Fishing Center will be be closed for two weeks beginning Monday to repair a collapsed drain pipe.
Photo by Doug Strickland.
  • photo
    John Sparks looks back at markings indicating the location of a collapsed drain pipe as he pushes his wife, Donna, on the Riverwalk on Saturday.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

Construction begins today on a section of the Tennessee Riverwalk, closing it for repairs for the next two weeks.

Repairs are needed on one of Chattanooga State Community College's drainage pipes, which collapsed and needs to be replaced. This repair will cause a portion of the Riverwalk between the Chickamauga Dam and the Fry Center to be closed.

A 36-inch corrugated metal galvanized drain line that runs from a swampy area near Chattanooga State's Health Science Building to the river has rusted over time, said Steve Huskins, assistant vice president, plant operations and facility planning at Chattanooga State.

The pipe is buried 20 feet in and will have to be dug out and replaced, along with the section of the Riverwalk that will be torn up during the process of replacing the pipe, Huskins said.

This is the first time that a pipe of this size has rusted on the school's campus, according to Huskins. He does not think the pipe has been replaced in the 30 years since the campus was built.

Stein Construction Co. has been contracted for the project. Work crews will have to dig a ditch that is several feet wide to complete the needed repairs.

Chattanooga State is paying the entire bill for the project. "Even though the pipe goes under the Riverwalk, it is our pipe and we are paying all the costs of its replacement," Huskins said.

The remaining seven miles or so of the Riverwalk will remain open as usual, said Mike Dunne, spokesman for the Hamilton County Mayor's Office.

The Riverwalk is an 8- to 10-foot wide, landscaped and lighted concrete trail that weaves along the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to Ross's Landing. The trail was designed for use by walkers, runners, and bicycle riders, and along the trail are several parks and breathtaking views of nature and the city. Plans call for the walk to be extended to the foot of Lookout Mountain,

Dunne said the Riverwalk requires regular maintenance. "There have been a few instances of the river overflowing and when the water recedes we have reclaimed the areas and conducted needed repairs," he said.

Currently no other repairs are needed, Dunne said. "The Riverwalk is in excellent condition."

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6592.

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