Work on next phase of Appomattox River trail to start this fall
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — The Colonial Heights Public Works department announced at a recent City Council meeting that they anticipate beginning the fourth phase of the Appomattox River trail project in the fall of this year after experiencing a minor delay.
Funded by the Tri-Cities Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the ongoing, multiphase project began around 2010 and involves the construction of an eight-foot-wide trail for biking, jogging and walking along the Appomattox River in Colonial Heights.
Public Works hopes to begin advertising for construction bids later this year for phase four of the trail project, which will involve adding a section of the trail from the Boulevard west to Appomattox Park.
“We are very near being able to request authorization from VDOT to begin phase four,” said Public Works Director William Henley. “All of these state and federal aid projects we have, we have to get authorization from VDOT before we can even advertise for construction bids.”
Henley recently provided project updates at a City Council meeting, where he explained that Public Works has begun steadily reworking on phase four following a delay.
“What has held us up is that there’s federal land on the Appomattox that we will be crossing to complete phase four of the project,” said Henley. “So we’ve been working with the Corps of Engineers in the Norfolk district to get a right of way across that federal land. We’re working on that now.”
Henley hopes to begin advertising for construction bids for the project later this year. “We only have one property owner with the federal government that we’re requesting land access from,” said Henley. “So we’re hoping around fall of 2018 we will be able to begin advertising for bids, if all goes well.”
According to Henley, the plan and the design for the fourth phase are already complete, and the Public Works Department made a request for additional funding to the state through the Smart Scale program. “The funding from the state program would become available to us if it’s approved on October 1,” said Henley.
Following the completion of phase four of the project, the city’s Public Works Department will look to continue completing the trail with phase five, which will involve extending the trail north from Rosalyn Park to Jennick Drive.
“We’re funded for all the project costs, and we hope to be starting the design for that in the spring of this year. We’re selecting consultants here in the next couple of weeks,” said Henley. “[However], we won’t be advertising for construction bids for phase five for quite some time now.”
Phases one through three of the project, which included the construction of approximately two miles of trail, have already been completed.
“There have been three phases delivered to date, [which] started at Rosalyn and went south from there to the Boulevard,” said Henley. “There’s about two miles [of the trail] in place right now. It’s well-liked and well-used … we’ve gotten good comments from those who recreate [using it].”
The Colonial Heights trail project is part of a larger, region-wide trail plan spearheaded by the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) organization based in Petersburg. FOLAR has been in the process of developing a “greenway-blueway” network of hiking and water trails along 22 miles of the lower Appomattox for river visitors to enjoy walking, bicycling and paddling the river on a continuous route between the Lake Chesdin dam, which straddles the boundary between Chesterfield and Dinwiddie Counties, and the Appomattox River’s confluence with the James River at City Point, Hopewell.
FOLAR’s Appomattox River Trail Master Plan provides a coordinated guide to locating and prioritizing a shared-use trail and signage system through six municipalities – Dinwiddie County, Chesterfield County, Prince George County, and the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights – along the lower Appomattox River corridor.
• Kelsey Reichenberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-722-5109.