Damage to trails nearly repaired

Thursday, October 2, 2008 | 5:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Flooding in mid-September damaged much of the trail network in Columbia and Boone County.Crews from the city, county and MU have been busy making repairs, and some areas even required outside help.

The county’s section of the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail west of Columbia was among the areas hit the hardest.

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“Very little of the trail was undamaged,” Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said.

The flooding caused large washouts, and in some places it brought down trees or left debris that blocked the trails.

“It sucked,” said Robin Debray, who runs frequently on the MKT and the MU Recreation Trail.

At this point, all the area trails are open, and most have been fully repaired.

“The trails that (the city) takes care of should all be back up to pre-flood condition, if not better,” city park services manager Mike Griggs said.

Many trail users still notice some rough spots, though.

Steve Easton, an MU School of Law professor who is training for a marathon, runs the MU Recreation Trail three days a week. He still encounters damage that forces him to step carefully or walk slowly.

“It's passable by running, and I see some cyclists, but it would be pretty challenging cycling I think,” Easton said.

Phil Shocklee, director of campus facilities at MU, said his crews have taken care of the minor damage, but there are some areas that still need work.

“The most severe damage was under the Providence Road bridge approach,” he said. “We would be doing that with an outside firm.”

Meanwhile, the county is looking for long-term fixes for areas that wash out frequently. It, too, will be looking for outside help, Elkin said.

Maintaining the trails has been expensive. The city has spent $58,254 fixing flood damage, and the county has spent about $39,000. Shocklee had no precise number but said it would be several thousand dollars for MU.

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