February 8, 2013 10:18:07 AM
By the end of the year, visitors to the Riverwalk and the Columbus Soccer Complex will be able to walk from one to the other with ease as plans continue to move forward on connecting the two venues.
Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said the project has now entered the design phase.
"We have approved the contract for the engineer for the project, which was awarded to Neel-Schaffer Engineering," Billingsley said. "After the engineering phase is done, it will be advertised for bids and then the contracts will be awarded."
The extension will cost approximately $600,000 and will be funded through an MDOT grant with an 80/20 match by the county and the City of Columbus, Billingsley said.
"This is from the same batch of grants that funded the original project," Billingsley said. "The initial drawings were done over a year ago."
The Riverwalk will be extended near the bridges over Moore Creek and it will come under the Highway 82 Bypass and end at Coretta Street on the north end of the soccer park.
Coretta Street will also be undergoing a face-lift before the extension is completed.
The board of supervisors voted in December to connect the street along the back end of the soccer complex. The board gave engineer Kevin Stafford permission to seek up to $50,000 in reserve funds through Tombigbee Water Management to put in two culverts on the back end of the property on Coretta Street.
"Putting in culverts and connecting Coretta Street will allow people to circle all the way around the park," Stafford said in December. "It will help eliminate a lot of the traffic congestion."
Stafford said the $50,000 estimate was on the high end, and he expected the project to cost less. The TVA funds will cover the engineering fees and materials.
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