Although repair of the Beaver Dam Trail has taken longer than expected, Hillsville Town Manager Travis Jackson says area residents are going to be pleased with the results.
“It’s been a major undertaking,” said Jackson. “It’s something we wanted to be done right. I think people will be pleased with the outcome.”
The trail suffered extensive damage from a storm in late January that resulted in heavy flooding. The trail was washed out and three bridges were heavily damaged. Even before that storm, the trail was constantly being damaged by heavy rains.
“We were having a constant problem with flooding. Unfortunately, it was a design flaw,” said Jackson, noting that the trail’s location beside a creek intensified the problems.
The January storm so damaged the bridges that Jackson said the trail had to be closed to public use.
“In my opinion some of the bridges were so damaged that it was unsafe for the public to use them,” he said. “We have since elevated the bridges three feet and built platforms with steps.”
In addition, the mulch that used to form the trail’s path will be removed and replaced by millings, which are used as a binder for quarry materials that make up the load-bearing portion of a concrete service. The millings, which usually contained five to seven percent asphalt, harden when heated by the sun, thus forming a hard or more durable surface.
Although town employees have done the huge majority of the repair work, Jackson said the town has been able to keep the cost down due to citizens who have donated their time and equipment, as well as the use of trustees from the New River Valley Regional Jail.
“If we could send our staff down there to work solely on the trail, it might be completed by now, but our staff has other town duties to perform,” said Jackson. “It’s been a long process, although that wasn’t our intention. I appreciate the patience the citizens have shown. I think we’re going to have something we can be proud of.”
Jackson added that he hoped the trail will be open to the public by the latter part of June or the first part of July.