Like giant puzzle pieces lifted up out of their blanks, large sections of asphalt that previously made up the section of the Riverwalk Trail near River Street in Danville were strewn aside following last week’s flooding.
Most, if not all, of the Riverwalk Trail is covered by water whenever the Dan River reaches a certain height, but the most problematic portion once the flooding recedes has long been the stretch along River Street in between the Norfolk Southern bridge and extending to Fall Creek.
After the Dan River crested at more than 26 feet last week, that area was again the primary focus for Danville Public Works in the effort to clean and reopen the trail.
That stretch was purposefully rerouted away from the river and closer to the street this year so that it would be safer in the event of more flooding. While most of the asphalt trail seemed unaffected, there were several hundred feet of the trail that had been lifted up by the water and displaced several paces away from where it should be.
Near the bank of Fall Creek sit several small- and medium-sized pieces of asphalt, along with a few giant slabs that don’t line up anymore with the section of the trail that remained intact.
Rick Drazenovich, the director of Danville Public Works, said the trail still had a bumpy milling surface on it that he called “very passable and usable.” It just is not as smooth as the normal trail had been, but the trail remains open in that spot.
“The asphalt is susceptible to currents like that. It didn’t have time to settle down [after its recent installation],” Drazenovich said. “Who would have thought we’d have the third [flood] of the year?”
Drazenovich said that his department will likely wait until January before replacing that washed out portion of the trail with concrete, which should hopefully be more resistant to future flooding.
“From about the bridge to where the bend is, it’s a couple hundred feet of concrete we’ll have to put in there,” he said. “We’ll put concrete down, and it’ll have a thickened edge on it so it won’t get undermined or anything, and that should solve that problem.”
A tiny bit upstream, still on that stretch but before reaching the Norfolk Southern bridge, is a hole that the flooding left on the edge of the trail. It’s 1 or 2 feet deep, and Drazenovich said that space would likely be filled with large rocks for the safety of trail users.
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