Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changes to the Jordan River Parkway

Today, my run to the tunnel under 123rd South was the first time in over two years that I've been to that tunnel. I noticed two changes to the Parkway.

About three years ago, the Jordan River had a lot of water during the summer, and that water eroded the dirt under the Parkway path at a spot about 100 yards north of the 123rd South tunnel. By the time the damage was noticed, the dirt had been washed away for a distance of 5 feet or so under the path, such that the path was on a dirt bridge over the washout. The path was in danger of a cave-in that would dump whom ever was on the path into the river. The river isn't more that a couple of feet deep, and an adult would likely be OK, but a small child could easily drown. The city of Riverton blocked off the path and graded a temporary path around the spot. I noticed that the temporary path has been paved with asphalt and is now the "official" path. The area where the erosion took place has grown over with grass, and people not familiar with the history of that section of path wouldn't never know the path had been modified.

The path inside the tunnel has been improved. It is a little higher and a little wider. In addition, large rocks line the east edge of the path (inside the tunnel) to keep water from reaching the foundation of the bridge. Now, it would take a pretty high river to overflow onto the path and to continue up towards the foundation of the bridge.

Draper has fixed up the playground area such that it is a nice picnic area with a playground for the kids. There are several tables around the playground (with wooden tops for shade) and grass growing around the area. Not far away is a larger playground that is maintained by the city of Riverton. This playground is on the west side of the river, and a narrow bridge connects the two playgrounds. The old Parkway path used that bridge to cross the river and continue on the west side of the river. Now, the Parkway stays on the east side of the river until it uses the new narrow bridge just south of the 114th South bridge. On one of my runs when I reach the Draper playground, I'll have to cross the river and see what improvements have been made to the Riverton playground.