Walking, jogging, biking, and other forms of regular exercise are critically important for physical and mental health. Residents of Columbus, Georgia, a city of just under 200,000 in west-central Georgia, are now able to enjoy a new transportation project that helps them accomplish all of those things in a beautiful and natural setting.
The Columbus Riverwalk was conceived as an opportunity to create a wonderful public amenity on the banks of the Chattahoochee River for walking, jogging, and biking. However, the idea was actually born out of the necessity to address sewer problems within the city of Columbus. While that work was being completed adjacent to the Chattahoochee River, local leaders saw an opportunity to reverse a century or more of the city turning its back on the river, and instead use the riverfront as an asset. Completed in late 2019, the Riverwalk now extends 22 miles along the river.
The Riverwalk project began in 1992, but it wasn’t until 2012 – with assistance from Georgia’s Transportation Investment Act (TIA) program – that work began to connect three disjointed sections of the Riverwalk to form a contiguous 22-mile trail. The $10 million project includes a trail with bridges, raised pathways, and a walking path all compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The new trail allows the community to stay active and provides connections to public transit, schools, universities, and more. The Riverwalk has also helped to spur growth to Uptown Columbus, creating more tourism opportunities. The Riverwalk is so popular with Georgia residents that it won the 2020 National People’s Choice Award in online voting for the America’s Transportation Awards Competition conducted by AASHTO.
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