WACO, Texas — Lake Waco is kicking off spring by opening spruced-up park facilities, starting with 2.8 miles of fresh asphalt across the Lake Waco dam.
The Waco Tribune-Herald reports the Lake Waco Dam trail has reopened after nearly six months of closures for the sake of a $1 million project to reinforce the dam.
Meanwhile, two seasonal parks, Airport Beach and Reynolds Creek Park, will reopen Sunday after months of work to repair past flood damage.
“It’s a wonderful situation,” said Heath McLane, Lake Waco manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “It looks like everything is going to open on time.”
The work includes repairs to park bathrooms as well as some 40 flood-wrecked shelters at Airport Beach. Sand is being replenished at Airport Beach and Twin Bridges day use area.
McLane said Twin Bridges patrons should be prepared for a self-pay station that will replace a staffed gatehouse. The station will accept credit cards or quarters for the $5 admission.
The dam trail has been popular with cyclists, walkers and runners since it opened in 2000, but it has been closed several times for maintenance in the last few years.
In the last couple of years, the Corps has spent $2 million to fix small landslides around the spillway and downstream embankment. Then the agency announced last fall it would need to shut down the trail again to address “longitudinal cracks” in the top of the dam that had contributed to the slides.
The cracks of up to 6 inches wide were not an immediate threat to the dam’s integrity but had allowed stormwater to infiltrate the subsoil. Crews scraped off the top 3 feet of clay, then repacked it, paved it and added a 3-foot-wide concrete cap on the downstream side.
Jeremiah Newton, manager of The Bear Mountain bicycle shop at 4425 W. Waco Drive, said cyclists in recent months have missed having the dam trail as a quick, safe route to the other side of Lake Waco. Newton himself lives five minutes from the dam and enjoys riding there with his wife and with their two toddlers, who ride in a bike trailer.
“It’s always nice riding the dam,” he said. “There’s not traffic on it, it’s closed off from vehicles, it’s easy to ride and there’s some great scenery. I’m glad it’s been redone. There were definitely some loose spots and cracking going on. . It was a bummer when they closed it off but it was a necessary improvement.”
Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com
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