November 22, 2014

Elyria
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Part of East Falls Riverwalk closed due to slippage

ELYRIA — Last month’s discovery of slippage under a walkway of the East Falls Riverwalk has prompted the city to close a portion of the deck while it looks for an outside contractor to come in and evaluate the damage.

The combination of ongoing river erosion and this spring’s excessive rainfall is being blamed for the problem, said Mayor Bill Grace, who briefed Council members on the situation during Monday’s City Council meeting.

To keep the public away from the area while a solution is worked out, the city has blocked off about a 50-foot stretch of walkway with orange caution fencing.

Kili Nielson of Elyria and Bradley Floyd of Wellington at Riverwalk. She said, “I have been trying to get him down here for months and we finally make it here and it is closed.” (CT photo by Tom Mahl.)

Kili Nielson of Elyria and Bradley Floyd of Wellington at Riverwalk. She said, “I have been trying to get him down here for months and we finally make it here and it is closed.” (CT photos by Tom Mahl.)

The closed-off area is furthest from the Elyria Police Department between a lower overlook and the railroad bridge.

“There is a lot of vegetation in the area, so we have yet to have a really good look at what is going on,” city Engineer Mukund Moghe said. “But from what we can see the slippage is significant.”

After two city workers noticed several planks in the walkway buckling, they notified the Engineering Department, which in turn brought in the Fire Department to rappel over the side of the railing for a closer look.

While dangling over a steep drop with the raging Black River below, the firefighter snapped a few photos that showed two support beams had dropped at least a few inches, Moghe said.

There are several dozen support beams anchoring the East Falls Riverwalk.

The city completed the $600,000 project in 2003, using grant money to build the platforms, walkways and stairs that form the observation area over the East Falls of the Black River in Cascade Park.

In 2007, the guardrail on the walkway had to be taken down so the city could repair the rusting steel and replace the peeling paint.

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It was the first significant work done to the project.

Grace said that in the coming weeks the city will get a better idea of the erosion in the area.

Erosion also is being blamed for the closure of an area of Cascade Park known as “19 acres.”

It begins just north of the nature center and goes toward the northern entrance on Florence Court.

It earned its moniker because it is the last 19 acres donated to the city for the park.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.