More than a year after flooding rains forced the city to close a section of the Crabtree Creek Greenway, contractors will soon begin repairs on three sections of boardwalk that will allow the trail to reopen by next spring.
Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and a record rain storm last April both caused Crabtree Creek to jump its banks, damaging the greenway boardwalks between Atlantic Avenue and Raleigh Boulevard. It was the first time flooding forced the closure of this stretch of trail since it opened in 2003, said Lisa Potts, the city’s senior greenway planner.
The trail has been closed between Atlantic and Capital Boulevard since Hurricane Matthew undermined a section of boardwalk that the city had determined already needed to be reinforced, Potts said. The city had to remove a stretch of boardwalk just west of Capital Boulevard, and the lack of nearby sidewalks or paths meant that a detour wasn’t possible.
Contractors will begin rebuilding the boardwalk in mid-January and have that section of the greenway open again by the end of February. The new boardwalk will be moved back from the creek and will be robust enough to withstand future floods, Potts said.
“We should not have any issues with future impacts from storms,” she said.
The other two sections of boardwalk cross a pond between Capital and Raleigh boulevards. Both storms lifted the boardwalk off its piers in spots, Potts said, with the worst damage coming after the April storm.
Starting this month, contractors will repair the damaged decking and install a system that should secure the boardwalk to its piers and keep it from floating free in the future, Potts said. That work is expected to be completed by the end of March.
In the meantime, a dirt and gravel path provides a detour around the damaged boardwalk.
Construction on the two projects is expected to cost $365,000, Potts said.
Some users of the greenway trail have wondered why it has taken the city so long to get it back open. Potts said while the second storm in April forced the city to re-evaluate its plans, projects like this typically take a year to design and complete anyway.
“We understand that everybody’s frustrated,” she said.