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Kanawha riverbank restoration underway

Lawrence Pierce
On Nov. 20, workers installed riprap on the riverbank west of the 35th street bridge on the Kanawha River.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Visitors to the north side of the Kanawha River might notice some changes on its East End banks, as the second phase of a riverbank restoration project has begun.

The one-mile stretch of riverbank between Greenbrier Street and the 35th Street Bridge will lose the old stone staircases that provide direct access to the river from the lower walkway, said City Engineer Chris Knox.

"We tried to replace a few sets on the first phase between Magic Island and Patrick Street," Knox said of the first phase of the project's first phase.

Those steps have since deteriorated to the point that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- charged with planning the project -- said they wouldn't replace the stairs during this phase.

"The water gets behind [them] and deteriorates the joints," said City Manager David Molgaard.

The "grand staircase" in front of the capitol building will remain, Knox said.

Some of the larger stones placed around existing drainage channels will be repurposed into benches along the upper walkway, Knox said.

Amherst Madison -- a Charleston company specializing in marine projects -- was contracted to top off the bank with an additional 3 feet of riprap (large chunks of limestone meant to protect the riverbank from eroding).

While the timeline for the $2 million project is set for a year, Knox said it could be completed sooner.

"Weather permitting, they think they'll be done by May 2014," Knox said.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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