Contractors must repair unexpected damages for Whitewater course - WRBL

Contractors must repair unexpected damages for Whitewater

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Columbus Whitewater opens in just two months, but some unexpected work is going to keep contractors busy. Erosion caused a portion of the Riverwalk to collapse last week and a boat ramp that will be used to get rafters off the river is caving in on itself.

City Engineer Donna Newman describes the boat ramp as a critical part of the course. "It's already buckling in one section. So one, it jeopardizes any vehicle or pedestrian that walks across it, they could slip through a hole."

Newman said it's common for concrete to become brittle and lose its structural stability. "Anytime you work in an area where you get fluctuating water levels, there's opportunities for this sort of thing to happen."

But the city plans to replace the concrete before the Memorial Day opening weekend. The work is estimated to take a few weeks and cost an estimated $65,000. That price includes a retaining wall that will help stop future erosion.

A few miles upstream there is a gaping 300-400-foot hole in the Riverwalk. The city is also planning to repair that, but it could take a couple of months. Newman hopes it will be completed before the course opens though.

She said the recent rains may have contributed to the collapse. "A couple of things might attribute to that... one is it could just be from the soils themselves just get so heavy they kind of slide," Newman said. She also said soil at the bottom of the slope may have washed away, weakening the foundation.

A plan is in the works to repair the area, but until then a 900-foot section from the 23rd Street Pavilion to City Mills will be closed indefinitely.

While it may not be directly related to the Whitewater course, Newman said it's still critical to fix it "People may be frequenting this area to watch them as they go downstream. So it's definitely in an area that will be utilized by a lot of different people."

Until the collapsed portion of the Riverwalk is repaired, traffic will be re-directed.

City Manager Isaiah Hugely has approved the process of repairing the damage, but since there is no long-term design yet, the exact cost is unknown.

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

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