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Riverwalk expansion should begin in spring


Kevin Stafford of Neel-Schaffer Engineering

Kevin Stafford of Neel-Schaffer Engineering



Nathan Gregory



Conceptual designs for a pedestrian connection between the Riverwalk to the Columbus Soccer Complex have been completed and the project is on schedule to begin construction in the spring, project engineer Kevin Stafford of Neel-Schaffer Engineering said Thursday. 


The joint project between the city of Columbus and Lowndes County faces two remaining hurdles before advertising for a contractor can begin: Completion of an office review of the final design and plans, specifications and estimates. Stafford said both of these must be submitted for approval to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which awarded an 80/20 matching grant to fun the work. 


"We know where the trail is going to be, what's going to be the bridge and what's going to be concrete slab on grade," Stafford said. ""My goal is to get through this whole design process by the end of this year so we can be in the advertising and bidding phases during the winter." 


The city and county's contract with Neel-Schaffer for engineering services was signed in February. Neel-Schaffer was granted an 11-month design schedule.  


The project extends the Riverwalk near the bridges on Moore's Creek and will come under the Highway 82 Bypass, ending at the soccer park's north end on Corretta Street. 


A portion of the area that would be part of the connection is in a flood plain, Stafford said, complicating the design somewhat. 


"The structural and hydraulic side of this went out longer than anticipated due to the fact that this is a flood plain," Stafford said. "We've basically gone through three design phases for the portion that will be underneath the bridge." 


The city/county 20-percent match of the approximately $600,000 grant is split between the two entities.  


Though the city is providing a match, the contract was awarded from MDOT to the county.  


J5/Broaddus, the firm selected this summer for the city's newly created role of project manager, will not be involved in this project.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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