Work on greenway, river access near zoo to begin this summer

Work on greenway, river access near zoo to begin this summer

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Work on the anticipated first phase of the Three Rivers Greenway Extension in Richland County is expected to begin in the next two months after County Council awarded a $5.9 million contract to complete the work.

The Three Rivers Greenway Extension Phase 1 is a 3.2-mile project that will be located between the Saluda River and Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The new Saluda Riverwalk will include an 8-foot-wide concrete trail and boardwalks bordering Interstate 126 along the Saluda River and continuing past Riverbanks Zoo to the confluence of the Saluda and Broad Rivers.

The greenway will feature boardwalks, zoo access, a maintenance building, security lighting, renovated boat ramp, parking lot, environmentally-friendly public restrooms, signage and information kiosks.

Click here for a detailed map of the project.

"It's always fun to get to the point where you can get it out for bid and get the bids back and then start watching people turn dirt," River Alliance CEO Mike Dawson said in late 2015 after updating Columbia City Council members. "Because it's going to be a great project and it's going to provide access to three miles of river that you can't get to. You can sort of see it, but you can't get to it."

The Three Rivers Greenway was first proposed in 2006. It is an 11.5-mile linear park within the city limits of Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce. Once the new phase is completed, it will stretch the total mileage of the greenway to more than 14.

The newest 3.2-mile section would eventually connect with another project, which, if approved and funded, would connect the Saluda Riverwalk to the Columbia Canal portion of the greenway through a bridge or series of bridges over one of the three downtown rivers. An exact location for that critical connection has not yet been determined.

The work is expected to be substantially completed within a year of the construction start. AOS Specialty Contractors, Inc.will oversee construction.

The recently-approved project is among millions of dollars in transportation and commuter improvements funded through the Richland County Transportation Penny Tax program, which was approved by voters in November 2012.

The Richland County Transportation Program includes such projects as road widenings, intersection improvements, sidewalks, bikeways, dirt road paving and greenways throughout Richland County during a 22-year period or until $1.07 billion in sales tax revenue is collected.

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