Contractors begin work this week on a variety of improvements that include regrading the Augusta Canal's popular towpath and installing safety rails and other features at bridges and overpasses.
The work, costing about $800,000, is part of a broader effort to establish a multiuse bicycle trail linking the canal with Dyess Park, Lake Olmstead and Riverwalk Augusta.
"The towpath from the waterworks pumping station to the head gates area gets heavy usage, especially in spring and summer, so we've asked them to get that area done first," said Dayton Sherrouse, the director of the Augusta Canal Authority.
The dirt towpath, where mules once hauled barges along the canal, will be smoothed and flattened to make it more usable to bicyclists and pedestrians, he said.
"They'll be regrading it, shaping, putting a crown on it - and adding safety railing near Warren Lake and at Reed Creek bridge," he said.
Several areas with concrete retaining walls on the Savannah River side of the canal have dangerous vertical dropoffs and will be improved with safety rails and signs.
APAC is the contractor, and funds for the work came from federal transportation grants obtained by the canal authority.
Mr. Sherrouse said that work will require limiting access to some areas but that workers will make every effort to minimize any inconvenience.
Construction updates and temporary closing information will be posted in the canal authority's Web site: www.AugustaCanal.com.
Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.