Construction project to extend trails along Augusta Canal

Crews are working to extend trails along the Augusta Canal. (WRDW-TV)

Crews are working to extend trails along the Augusta Canal. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Construction on the River Levee Trail actually started earlier this month, and even though the rain caused crews to wrap up a bit early, they had a big delivery on Thursday.

"We've got a 120-foot crane coming from Tyrone, Ga., with the contractor," said Project Manager Russell Foster.

Part of the crane was delivered today. The rest of it is expected to arrive sometime next week.

The crane is what they'll use to put the bridges in at King's Mill and Sibley Mill. So, on days when it's not pouring rain, people can come down and enjoy the trail.

"So here's the two waterways where we're putting the bridges," explained Foster as he points to the trail races at each mill.

The bridges will help bikers and joggers get over the water, but that's not all they're putting in.

They'll also be laying about 1,800 feet of concrete trail.

Foster says it's all about quality of life.

"They can get exercise, bike ride, walk, take pets, just enjoy what is our greatest resource, the Augusta Canal," he said.

The $1.2 million project is funded by an $825,000 grant from the Georgia DOT. The rest is covered by the Augusta Canal Authority.

Foster says he hopes the project will help make money by drawing people from all over.

"There's an opportunity here to create a network of trails in an urban setting that we feel will end up being a destination for lots of people," he said.

This part of the project is expected to take six months, which means many more days of one-lane traffic on River Watch Parkway heading away from downtown.

But Foster says it will all be worth it.

"It's a lot of work that will take place, but I think from a quality of life standpoint, it'll be a home run for us," he said.

This project is just part of one big master plan. Eventually, they hope to extend the trails all the way to the Riverwalk in downtown Augusta.

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