Archive for March, 2011

Trail flooding, debris and washout.

We’ve run the trail blower > 370 miles for 2011.
I was able to run the trail blower Thursday and Friday, for 100 miles. Due to recent heavy rains in the Rockmart area, several of the sections were flooded and others had excessive washout of silt and rock. Rains were so heavy the river rose sufficiently to deposit silt on the Silver Comet Trail bridge over the river in Rockmart. Silting was very heavy in sections of the river walk in Rockmart too. Sections of the trail east and west of Rockmart were still flooded. Debris washout was so heavy in some areas that a torrent took down farm fencing, which was propped back into place. I suspect this area encountered a micro burst as many branches were broken from trees too.

Flood damaged fence.

Flood damaged fence and debris.

Flooding at a narrow section of the trail west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing was covering the trail. Debris accumulation was forcing the water over the trail.

Trail flooding west of the Atlanta Rd crossing.

Trail flooding west of the Atlanta Rd crossing.

Thursday, I shoveled the debris clear allowing the water to drain along the trail.  When I returned  Friday the section was dry (one damp spot).  I used the trail blower to clear the debris and silt.  This is how that trail section looked late Friday.  Viewed from the opposite direction, also note the effective drainage on the right in the section that Jim Brannon had cleared with his tractor.

Cleaned section west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing.

Cleaned section west of the Atlanta Rd over-crossing.

The trail entrance to the tunnel under GA Hwy6 at the junction with US278 was covered with  mud,  again.  I shot a video expressing my thoughts about the poor drainage design.

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The low section of the trail between US278 and Old Cedartown was flooded at several points.  Debris dams were preventing runoff, plus work needs to be done to improve drainage.  I shot a video here too…  you can see how much water was flowing across here after a removed a portion of the debris dam.  The cyclist riding through “the pond” was not staged.

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After cleaning the remainder of the trail to Alabama and returning, much of the water had drained.  The pool was much smaller and there was almost a rideable margin.

Flooded section, slightly improved.

Flooded section, slightly improved.

Past Landfill hill there was a lot of rock washout from the rain.  Lots of rock and gravel dried into the mud.  It took a lot of shoveling and broom work to break it loose for the blower to clean-up.  The upper section did have some large rocks which would be very dangerous on a descent.

Rock washout west of Landfill Hill.

Rock washout west of Landfill Hill.

Fortunately, the section west of Cedartown wasn’t nearly as bad.  Nothing that required special attention with a shovel or broom.  It was a long hard day of work, but I did get to eat dinner at Frankie’s and Jim Brannon picked up the tab.

Thanks Jim!

Drainage and debris problems on the Silver Comet Trail.

Saturday, TomA and I rode the trail to Rockmart.  On the return trip I took the time to photograph and characterize some of the drainage and debris problems along the trail.

Rockmart River Walk:
Slumping and erosion along the river has undercut the trail.  If fixed sooner, rather than later, it can prevent further damage and avoid major costs to repair.  It’s also a major safety problem as any cyclist wandering from the trail here could be seriously injured.
(click images to enlarge)

Slumping and erosion along the river.

Slumping and erosion along the river.

Rock Debris on Trail:
Continuing erosion and accumulation along the trail margin east of Rockmart is now causing rock debris to intrude onto the trail.

Rock debris on trail.

Rock debris on trail.

All of the Georgia Highway tunnels and underpasses continue to have drainage problems of varying degrees. Trail bridges over roads and highways are, in general, a much better solution. The one exception to this is the US278 tunnel which is in a raised section with adequate drainage. Many of the problems at the highway bridges could be improved with better erosion control and storm water management.

Atlanta Road Bridge:
The section of trail that Jim had worked on earlier in the year was draining well.  However, the problem continued to move further down the trial west of the Atlanta Rd over pass.

Trail flooding west of Atlanta Rd.

Trail flooding west of Atlanta Rd.

We will need to extend the work that Jim did earlier in the year, it is working well. While not obvious in the photo, this is clear, running water. Not sure what the source of the water is, but it might be a spring or marsh fed to be this clear and running fast.

Improved drainage at Atlanta Rd.

Improved drainage at Atlanta Rd.

East of Willow Springs Bridge:
Water is flowing across the trail in this section. Not difficult to fix, this has been a chronic problem for years. Hopefully I can get Tony and his excavator to help me fix this section.

Water flowing over the trail.

Water flowing over the trail.


A more critical problem of the opposite nature exists across the trail. Erosion has created a drop-off adjacent to the trail and undermined the bench footings. It will require a significant amount of dirt to restore this section. Important, as it is a popular stopping point and rest spot. The popularity of this spot might be contributing to the erosion. A concrete slab might be a better solution if properly anchored.
Bench erosion.

Bench erosion.

Hwy 92 Bridge:
The GA92 bridge is a continual problem. It was one of the first areas which I hand shoveled. Such meager efforts are soon over come by natural forces.

GA92 bridge.

GA92 bridge.

Other problem areas:
Ga120 bridge construction has poor mud and runoff controls.
Mt Olivet tunnel sand accumulation.

Low sections with poor drainage:
Ga61 bridge, east of Rosedale Rd and the waste water treatment plant and a section west of Rambo trailhead all have poor drainage and easily accumulate debris and mud.
The GA61 bridge section has several problems which will require some special planning and a culvert under the trail.

Rambo Nursery driveway is an on-going problem and really needs to be paved.

Responsible Cycling and Cleaning the Trail 20110304

Cleaning the Silver Comet Trail yesterday, just past the power lines,  I came upon this patch of debris from a down pine tree.  What amazed me was the number of cyclists that had been riding over this mess, but elected to do nothing about this hazard.

Trail Debris, down tree.

Trail Debris, down tree.

I guess the riders could squeeze by on the right-side and not have to slow down too much…  (we wouldn’t want to have anyone’s average speed data for the morning ride effected by this obstacle).    However, if two of these Alpha Males had arrived at the debris patch at the same time, there might have been a serious collision whilst jousting for the right of clear passage.

Webgeek to the rescue, saving the Alpha Males of the Trail from themselves.  I pulled the trunk of the tree aside, tossed a few of the larger pieces and cleared the rest of the debris with the trail blower.

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The remainder of the day was not that exciting, but a long day.   I ran the trail blower 70.46 miles.  We’ve now logged over 270 miles cleaning the trail for the year.   We try to clean busier sections of the trail and sections that seem to accumulate debris faster, more often.  One section that seems to accumulate more than it’s fair share of debris is section of trail between US278 and Old Cedartown Rd… we call this section Sweetgum Alley.  After one week this is how it looked:

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