Last updated: March 02. 2014 3:58PM - 1208 Views
By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

Bill Blackley and Bob Hillyer arrive at Smith-Rowe in Mount Airy to inspect a footbridge that is scheduled to be installed over the Elkin Creek.
Bill Blackley and Bob Hillyer arrive at Smith-Rowe in Mount Airy to inspect a footbridge that is scheduled to be installed over the Elkin Creek.
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Organizers with the Elkin Valley Trails Association who are working on a multi-use trail system connecting downtown Elkin through Wilkes County to Stone Mountain State Park were elated last week after a footbridge vital to the project made way into Mount Airy, where it will remain until the bridge is ready for installation.

The Elkin Board of Commissioners unanimously have thrown support behind EVTA efforts and are overseeing a vital construction project.

The 80-foot Elkin and Alleghany trail pedestrian footbridge costs $80,000.

“The bridge has arrived at Smith-Rowe in Mount Airy,” said Dr. Bill Blackley of EVTA. Smith-Rowe was awarded the installation contract after records show they were the lowest bidder.

“Bob (Hillyer), Bill (Blackley) and I went to look at it this morning. It’s big and impressive,” said Joe Mickey of EVTA.

According to Mickey, the bridge has four spans total, two 30-foot spans (the end spans) and two 40-foot spans (the center spans).

“Will is working on getting the approaches and access ready so Smith-Rowe can come install it. It should not be long now if the weather remains good,” said Mickey.

According to an EVTA newsletter, a contractor will begin construction on the bridge approaches this week. Once that is done, installation of the bridge will begin. Weather permitting, EVTA expects all to be walking across the Elkin Creek this spring.

“Many supporters, making small and large donations, have made this segment of trail happen. This will open up access to a hiking and biking trail heading north of town towards our goal of Stone Mountain State Park, and connecting with the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Segments of trail north of the town of Elkin will be hike and horse friendly,” said EVTA’s newsletter.

The bridge will be located about 200 feet above the Shoe Factory Dam.

In other EVTA news:

The 2014 Trails Boogie Celebration will be held the evening of June 5 at the Liberty in Downtown Elkin. This event is EVTA’s annual fundraiser with a special performance by Dennis Gruenling and Doug Demming with the Jeweltones.

Destination by Design and NC State Parks, including the Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain state park folks, Elkin and Jonesville trails folks, and regional sections of the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail between Elkin/Jonesville and Pilot and Stone Mountain state parks are rendezvousing in Elkin at the Elkin Center of Surry Community College on March 20 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for a public meeting to work on plans for the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail master plan in the area of involvement.

EVTA and the Yadkin Riverkeeper are making plans for the 2014 Tour de Yadkin. Last year, more than 75 paddlers made the trip from Elkin to the Mitchell River. EVTA anticipates up to 100 participants this year. The tour is a four-day event, beginning with a Women’s Paddle on June, 12. On June 13, paddlers will launch from Ronda and arrive in Elkin for a weekend in the Historic Village of Elkin. Saturday will be the big day, beginning with a four-mile trail walk, hosted by EVTA, along the Big Elkin Creek and over the Elkin Creek Bridge. Mid-morning, Saturday’s float will leave from Crater Park in Elkin and arrive at Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery on the Mitchell River. The Elkin Tour will conclude with a Father’s Day float on June 15.

Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.

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