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Section of Arkansas Riverwalk closed, partial breach in levee caused trail to collapse

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-29 00:41:36-04

CANON CITY – High and powerful waters in the Arkansas River have now caused a partial breach in a Canon City levee and a section of the riverwalk was forced to close.

Fortunately, for the hundreds of people that use this trail every day they’ll only have to take a slight detour through the parking lot nearby.

The impacted section is about 100 feet and city leaders say that while the ground underneath has been stabilized it’s only a band-aid fix and that part of the trail has collapsed.

Kelly Garcia said, “The water seems like it’s getting higher and higher.”

Gilbert Garcia said, “This is the worst we’ve ever seen it.”

The couple uses the Arkansas Riverwalk every day, but a section of their favorite hangout is closed off due to powerful forces in the river.

Gilbert Garcia said, “If you walked by you could see that the earth was just giving away. There was just chunks going into the water.”

That’s what happened last week.

Kyle Horne, executive director of the Canon City Area Recreation and Park District, said, “We started seeing collapsing trail and other things, and we knew that we were going to have problems. We also saw an increase in groundwater in the parking lot in the low area adjacent to the levee.”

With the river flowing at a powerful 5,000 cubic feet per second for the last few weeks, Horne said, “It then gets into areas it normally doesn’t make it into and it starts chewing away at banks.”

Eventually, causing a slight breach in the levee and part of the trail to collapse.

Horne said, “With the groundwater issues that we noticed and everything else we felt that we had to be proactive and deal with it now so we had to close off part of the trail.”

Crews also stabilized the ground underneath with trees, loose sediment, and big rocks until a permanent solution is found.

“The only way this thing is going to get real bad is if we get into flash flooding or for some reason this river gets back up to where it’s over 6,000, 7,000 CFS.”

Horne said this section of the riverwalk will be closed until August or September, hopefully, when water levels have dropped more and crews can get in there to assess the damage.

In the meantime, Horne and others will be working to get a plan in place for a permanent fix. Rest assured, people will be in the area monitoring this on a daily basis