Barricaded closures of storm-damaged sections of Burlington’s bike path are steering walkers and cyclists away from some splendid lake views.
As bicyclists seek alternate routes, the path’s advocates are making plans to inspect and shore up undermined and eroded stretches. It can’t be a rush job, Burlington Parks Superintendent Deryk Roach said.
How long will portions be closed? Indefinitely” is the operative word.
“A lot of this is going to depend on the lake,” Roach said, helping haul a metal barrier into place at the Lakeside Avenue bridge. “Until the water level goes down, we won’t know what’s involved in getting things back into shape.”
Lake Champlain remains above flood stage in the wake of the region’s wettest spring and record-high lake levels. Those conditions have closed the Island Line causeway, a popular route for bikers between Colchester and South Hero.
Wednesday, several late-lunchtime walkers scooted past the new barricade just before 1:30 p.m., when general foreman Marty Hornick locked it into place. The group heeded Roach’s advice and took the longer, noisier, sunnier and dustier way back to downtown, via Pine Street.
The department is playing it safe, Roach said. Although some of the hazards are obvious, portions of the path are less stable than they look, and closure will protect less-than-alert users from painful or costly missteps.
Erosion near the Pine Street Barge Canal bridge allows only a few inches of clearance for wheelchairs and three-wheelers, he added.
No 'fast patch'
The department listed the off-limits zones in their order of instability:
- Lakeside Avenue north through Perkins Pier (at the Pine Street Barge Canal bridge).
- From the Starr Farm/Northshore area to North Avenue Extension.
- The 127 Recreation Path north of Ethan Allen Homestead to Ethan Allen Parkway.
Engineers will examine the path’s exposed surfaces this week and begin a series of recommendations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, Roach said.