South Charlotte

Backhoe damages greenway boardwalk


A maintenance gaffe at McMullen Creek Greenway involving a backhoe on the boardwalk will cost around $20,000 to fix, according to Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

A park employee's bad day at the office, on or around Aug. 27, happened near the Rock Canyon access of the popular greenway, which has a main entrance on Pineville-Matthews Road. An employee headed out in a small utility vehicle to tend to a tree that had fallen on or near the boardwalk, according to Jeff Robinson, division director of specialized park services.

When the vehicle got stuck in the muck, the employee followed up with a backhoe. “It's common to have a backhoe involved when you're working on a greenway project, because of all the heavy material you're moving around,” Robinson said. The regular public can't bring vehicles on greenways.

As the employee took the backhoe over the wooden boardwalk that spans the wetlands, the deck collapsed. Workers later brought a tow truck to wrench everything out. No one was injured.

Weight restrictions aren't posted on the boardwalk, Robinson said. Robinson wouldn't offer any details on the employee, citing personnel reasons. He said the incident is regarded as an accident and not a breach in protocol.

Workers built a temporary trail around the damaged area to open it before the busy Labor Day weekend. It has a large-rock base, pit gravel top and three 24-inch pipes to keep water moving back and forth. The permanent fix is a couple of weeks away.

Money will come from park and rec's operational budget, Robinson said.