City rushes to repair RiverWalk before soldier marathon - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

City rushes to repair RiverWalk before soldier marathon

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A collapse in the RiverWalk in Columbus has the city scrambling to make repairs before a weekend event that is meant to salute soldiers.

About 1,200 runners for this year's Soldier Marathon are set to fill the RiverWalk this weekend, but Cecil Cheves, the race director, says there is one problem: about 50 feet of sidewalk sinking into the Chattahoochee River.

"The collapse of the bridge effects about 4 miles of the course.  You know, you can't just pick a street and say we're going to run on that street.  You've got to measure that street exactly," said Cheves.

SLIDESHOW:
Section of
RiverWalk
Collapses

Richard Bishop with Uptown Columbus says the problem started with water forced to flow against this section of the RiverWalk because of the Whitewater project.

"This is very, very isolated.  It's something that because of the diversion we put water in a place that we should have probably had some precautionary measure done a little earlier," said Bishop.

Crews are working to clear the debris and Bishop hopes reconstruction can start by the end of the week before the race that benefits the National Infantry Museum and the House of Heroes.

Cheves says the USA Track and Field certified race draws runners from across the country because it is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.  Now, with the street collapse, race organizers must rush to get the course re-certified and decide if they need to re-route the runners.

"There is an area that was not damaged to the side of the RiverWalk where we can construct and barricade a path for runners to cross."

The race director also explains a new route that comes off the RiverWalk at the Columbus, Georgia Convention and Trade Center, travels along Bay Avenue, and continues to Front Avenue.

Cheves says the USA Track and Field certified race draws runners from across the country because it's a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. 

Due to the collapse in the bridge, race organizers must apply for an emergency re-certification, a process that normally takes weeks and requires measurements of the route at every four inches.  A marathon route is 26.2 miles.

Cheves expects to find out if the race is approved for certification by Thursday.

Bishop says the city is working to make sure the problem does not happen again.         

"It will be the same diversion, we just got to redirect.  That's what we're working on now is a way to redirect that diversion so it doesn't affect the RiverWalk."

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