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Boardwalk on Salado - North is open

03 Nov 2022

After months have rolled by, construction was apparently completed on the Morningstar Boardwalk; the fences have been removed. According to a statement on the city's website, dated 27 October, scheduled completion was set for the end of October, weather permitting. A ride on this repaired path today reflected that a few bumps remained in the midst of the new lumber smell. Scraps of old boards remained on the creek bottom along the side of the trail.

Morningstar Boardwalk entrance near Wetmore Road—Photo: SRR
Morningstar Boardwalk entrance near Wetmore Road—Photo: SRR

Over several months, cyclists were met with closures on the boardwalk while crews performed repairs. According to a foreman, the anti-skate panels were lifted, old boards were replaced, and the panels were reinstated.

Chain link fencing was used to close the path—Photo: SRR
Chain link fencing was used to close the path—Photo: SRR

These repairs were much needed. Cyclists confirmed that the structure's condition had worsened and become unsafe. One cyclist said that he hit a buckled board due to flooding and almost lost control (but then, he may have been rolling through at an unsafe speed). Overall, park officials are focused on safety, thus prompting them to put up a chain-link fence.

Some riders have inquired about a detour when the boardwalk goes offline again. Ross said, "Unfortunately, we don’t have a good detour route for the period in which it will be under maintenance."

The boardwalk is a memorial to U.S. Army SSgt Christopher Morningstar who was killed by a roadside bomb in Al Husayniyah, Iraq on 5 Feb 2006.

A history of problems

When the trail first opened around 2010, the boardwalk was slippery when wet. Cyclists back then had to slow down and take it easy, especially on turns. Since then, anti-skid plates were installed; however, the screws have been known to work loose and puncture tires.

Taken 8 Sep 2021: Looking west from LBJ Park area, the Morningstar Boardwalk had settled, making it unsafe—Photo: SRR
Taken 8 Sep 2021: Looking west from LBJ Park area, the Morningstar Boardwalk had settled, making it unsafe—Photo: SRR

A reopened Morningstar Boardwalk with overgrowth cut away
Sep 2021: A reopened Morningstar Boardwalk with overgrowth cut away—Photo: SRR

Overhanging overgrowth creates a hazard on the Morningstar Boardwalk—Photo: SRR
Overhanging overgrowth creates a hazard on the Morningstar Boardwalk—Photo: SRR

Sep 2021: The boardwalk was re-opened; however, cyclists were greeted with overgrowth.

Morningstar Boardwalk gate is closed, indicating that the boardwalk sustained damages
Taken 15 Jul 2021: Morningstar Boardwalk gate is closed, indicating that the boardwalk sustained damages—Photo: SRR

July 2021: The boardwalk was closed due to flood damages that included raised boards and partially collapsed segments on the LBJ Park end.

Board raised on boardwalk posing a hazard for unwary cyclists
Board raised on boardwalk posing a hazard for unwary cyclists—Photo: SRR

Taken 11 Sep 2021: With invasive vegetation overgrowth, a damaged Morningstar Boardwalk threads its way under Nacogdoches Road—Photo: SRR
Taken 11 Sep 2021: With invasive vegetation overgrowth, a damaged Morningstar Boardwalk threads its way under Nacogdoches Road—Photo: SRR

Due to safety concerns, a Meetup group ride leader will not schedule any rides across the boardwalk. He canvasses the trails ahead of scheduled rides to ensure that they are safe. Otherwise, the traffic roars on as cyclists navigate their way around the barricades and keep on cranking it—not slowing down a bit. Cyclists have previously reported that the boardwalk had settled down between Nacogdoches and where the boardwalk ends. Dan Holubec, who rides this route often, reported that he felt the boardwalk structure flexing. It does not take much rain for parts of it to go underwater.

May 2018: A motorized vehicle operated by bug sprayers was too wide for the boardwalk. As a result, it caused damage to the baseboards, thus prompting officials to close it.

—SRR News Services

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