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Beginning Wednesday the Roanoke Canal Trail from the entrance at Roanoke Avenue to just before the River Road parking lot will be closed for bridge maintenance in which two structures will be taken down and replaced by culverts.

Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Department Maintenance Superintendent Ryan Newsome said 3-feet culverts will be installed and riprap and stones will cover them.

Parks and recreation Director John Simeon said dirt will be added to bring those areas of the trail being repaired up to the height they were when the bridges were there and to add stabilization for users of the historic footpath.

Newsome said work is expected to take two weeks if the weather cooperates.

The bridges which are being replaced were in need of repair. The construction will not affect other portions of the trail such as the route which takes users by Lion’s Watch, under I-95 and onto Weldon.

The access to the trail from the Roanoke Rapids Dam that goes to the museum will not be affected by the closure.

The construction only deals with the access point that leads users toward WestRock and the avenue.

“The replacement of the bridges with culverts will provide the optimal use of the Canal Trail by patrons, joggers, and bicyclists which will also allow easier travel by maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles,” Simeon said. “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate smaller bridges so that (emergency and maintenance) vehicles can travel from one end to the other — from the trailhead to Weldon.”

Funding for the project is provided by Lori Medlin of the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Canal Commission and the city.

The funding, Simeon said, is another example of partnerships which help to keep the trail maintained. “The Canal Trail as a whole has been supported throughout our community by boy scout troops, MJ Price Construction and community members working together to make the Canal Trail a vital part of our community while maintaining its historical value. We appreciate your patience and understanding through this process that allows us to enhance our Canal Trail.”