Greenway repairs are underway in Wake Forest after heavy rains damaged Richland Creek

sbarr@newsobserver.comDecember 13, 2013 

— Repairs are underway on a portion of the Richland Creek Greenway that was damaged by heavy rains during the spring and early summer.

The repair includes two parts: a stream bank restoration and a rerouting of the greenway trail. Officials expect the greenway to remain closed until summer 2014.

Town staff made the decision to close the greenway several months ago after surveying the extent of the damage. The rain had destabilized the stream’s already weak banks, and several trees fell into the stream and uprooted a portion of the bank.

“We decided to close it because we were really concerned about safety,” said Holly Miller, an assistant engineer for the town. “We definitely want to err on the side of caution.”

The stream bank repair includes grading the banks to make them less steep and adding new plants. The cost of the repair is about $750 and will be funded through a grant.

The stream historically has risen significantly during heavy storms, by as much as four to five feet, in part because the neighborhoods upstream have lots of impervious surfaces that do not filter and slow the flow of water.

As the water rushes through the stream, the banks’ plants and tree roots can loosen.

The repairs are expected to allow for better flow and reduce some of the volume in the stream.

However, they also will require the greenway’s asphalt trail to be rerouted because the stream bank restoration cuts out a portion of it.

The town will either purchase a small portion of land or use an easement to acquire the land needed for the trail.

The 10-foot wide Richland Creek trail runs for about a third of a mile along the creek, west of Barnford Mill Road and north of Harris Road.

In the future, the town intends to extend the greenway north into Franklin County and south into E. Carroll Joyner Park.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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