Work on River Trail continues

MARIETTA – In spite of some hurdles, including recent rainstorms and rising river levels, the $1.1 million third phase of Marietta’s River Trail project is still on track for completion in mid-September.

“The project was probably impacted some by the rains. There were some portions underwater when the river came up last week but the contractor has been able to continue with other trail work during those times,” said Eric Lambert, project manager with the city engineering department.

He said no major issues stemming from the recent weather were brought up by contractor Shelley and Sands during a project meeting earlier this week.

But Lambert said the trail has been designed with potential flooding in mind.

“We’re not looking for a lot of flooding, but that’s taken into account. The project was designed for the type of area that could be flooded,” he said.

The contractor did run into one roadblock near the Ohio River end of Fifth Street that could have put an end to the project.

“Dominion Transmission had an 8-inch high carbon steel (natural gas) line coming across the river to a junction with a Dominion East Ohio distribution line,” Lambert said.

Plans called for the trail to pass over the gas line, and Lambert said generally that could have caused a problem, but the city was able to work with Dominion Transmission to come up with a solution.

“We came to an agreement that we would put some rip-rap stones along the stream bank to protect the line and our trail,” he said. “We’ll also put in some curbing to direct stormwater away from that area. Dominion has been very supportive of the project.”

On Tuesday a Shelley and Sands crew was grading a portion of the trail that runs between the Ohio River and the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

New chain-link fencing has been installed along the north side of that trail section to prevent anyone from straying onto the wastewater plant property, and Lambert said a rail fence is to be erected along the river side of the trail to protect bikers and pedestrians from falling over the river bank.

He said cameras and some lighting are being considered for the trail area behind the wastewater treatment plant, but lighting and cameras on the plant property would also provide some measure of security for trail users.

“The security blanket that covers the wastewater plant basically extends onto the River Trail,” Lambert said.

Completion of the 1-mile third phase will extend the total River Trail length, from Indian Acres Park to the intersection of East Eighth and Jefferson streets, to approximately 4.5 miles. The next extension phase will route the trail across Duck Creek and into the Walmart plaza area, but a timeline for that work has not yet been established.

“The trail will actually continue to move along the river and will pass on the river side of the I-77 bridge pier and on to the Duck Creek confluence with the river,” said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs council’s lands, buildings and parks committee.

Once the trail reaches Duck Creek it will turn north along the stream to a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will be constructed across the creek. The trail will then turn east across Duck Creek and proceed on to intersect with Captain Seeley MIA Drive at the Walmart complex.

“A lot of people work there, and this will allow our citizens to safely access that area without having to walk along Ohio 7,” Noland said. “But it also will enhance our marketing ability to tourists who often travel with bicycles by giving them access along the trail to downtown Marietta.”