A little more than two weeks after it opened, a key section of Mount Airy’s new greenway connector will be closing temporarily because of a drainage problem.
The closure is to begin Monday and be in effect for an indefinite period, according to Catrina Alexander, city parks and recreation director.
It affects the section of the greenway connector that runs from under U.S. 601 to Worth Street, which includes a new bridge visible from U.S. 52. Worth Street was the longtime ending point of the Emily B. Taylor Greenway, and is the western starting spot for the 2.2-mile connector which links that greenway to the Ararat River Greenway on the east side of town.
The connector was opened for the Fourth of July weekend, even though construction on the new link wasn’t entirely complete. “We went ahead and opened it,” Alexander said of a desire by city officials to let citizens take ownership of the new trail and use it during the holiday period.
The public responded en masse, which she attributes to the greenway being a “new and exciting” addition to the local recreational landscape. “We’ve gotten so much usage right out of the gate.”
“As noted when the trail was opened, there would still be a punch list of items that we would be working on,” Alexander reminded when making the announcement of Monday’s closure.
Drainage issues at the affected greenway section have emerged as one of those tasks to be completed, as evidenced by muddy sections alongside the asphalt trail at that point and some silt depositing onto the greenway. The closure will allow work to occur on that portion to improve the drainage.
“I think they want to make some modifications there,” Alexander said Friday of crews for Smith-Rowe, LLC, a Mount Airy company awarded the contract for the greenway construction.
“We are grateful for any changes that are going to benefit the trail,” she said.
The parks and recreation director said the company is not sure when the work will be finished so the affected section can reopen. “We will just stay on top of it and keep everyone updated.”
Alexander says the patience of greenway users will be appreciated in the meantime and her message to them is to “please enjoy the rest of the trail and parks and we will keep you updated as to the timeline and other activities.”
The drainage work is not the only task remaining for the new connector.
“Recently, access gates and signage were installed and there will be other items forthcoming,” Alexander added.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.