I took a ride around Draper Lake yesterday to check on the progress of the bikeway project. I started from the marina and rode counterclockwise. They now have a team laying a curb on one side of the bikeway. I’m guessing they’ll eventually do both sides, but with all the delays in getting the asphalt laid, they have plenty of time.
This is the point below the dam where the trail construction is temporarily blocked by a dirt dump from an older as-yet unfinished construction project. You can’t see the actual construction in this image on the right, but it shows the alignment of the bikeway and how the dirt piles have halted it until the site is released. If you go farther around the dam, you can see the unfinished pump house construction (left) below the dirt pile area.
This is a green sand plum (right). I think someone has picked the dew berries clean, and has been working on the blackberries, because the vines and bushes I spotted last week were bare of all but the greenest berries. However, close to these patches were sand plums. This has been a bad year for wild fruit out by the lake. In several very dense areas of sand plum bushes, I found only a half-dozen anywhere close to ripe like these two (left). They will ripen on the window sill at home.
All along the northern section of the bikeway loop crews have been doing massive dirt work. Recent rains have shown them the weak spots I wrote about previously. In this shot (right) the crews are adding a deep layer atop the previously half-finished trail bed. There were huge dump trucks rolling up and down Draper Drive ferrying fill dirt to low spots. Some of it came from this corner (left) that has been scalped for a future parking lot. This was one area where I pointed out the bikeway was almost a meter below the ground surface, but that’s been changed now, obviously.
Most of this dirt work looks fine, but it needs rocks. This last image shows a very nicely contoured fill over a deep gully, but unless they add a heavy layer of rip-rap on the face of the incline, this thing will wash out and collapse within three to five years. There are over a dozen places like this and most of them are at the stage when the rocks should already be there. It’s bad enough they didn’t mix any gravel into this build-up to help stabilize the soil.
I’ve had friends who lived in both Oklahoma and Texas tell me that the latter state is pretty tough on hydrology engineering and drainage for any construction, but that Oklahoma has very weak standards. Thus, the kind of flooding and washouts that plague Oklahoma roads and building foundations is rarely seen in Texas because Texas state government won’t tolerate such an outcome. Unless the Draper bikeway project puts in the hard work and engineering, parts of it will fail disastrously in just a few years. In closing, I note that the swamp section near the model aircraft aerodrome was flooded again yesterday. That portion of the bikeway is already a disaster.