Shoreline erosion project closes Laurel Run Park's walking track

Jeff Bobo • Updated Aug 16, 2019 at 10:45 AM

CHURCH HILL – The walking track at Laurel Run Park will be closed for the next couple of weeks while the park’s long awaited shoreline remediation project is underway to halt erosion.

Work is scheduled to begin Friday morning.

Hawkins County facilities manager Sarah Davis told the Times News Thursday that the park, which is located on the Holston River just south of Church Hill, will remain open during the project, as will most of its amenities.

But, the paved walking track that circles the western half of the park will be closed due to heavy equipment moving rock that will be used stabilize the shoreline.

The Tennessee Valley Authority donated 85 truckloads of large rock for the shoreline project, which would have cost the county about $50,000 to purchase.

For the past year that rock has been piled up in parking lots and near the boat launch at the park.

Although funds and materials were available for the project last year, wet weather resulted in delays.

The park’s 2,500-foot-long shoreline has eroded between 6 and 10 feet during the past decade.

A short distance upriver from the park is a major bend.

When it rains, the current coming around that bend puts pressure on the southern shore at the park.

As a result, the park’s riverbank is being undercut, which first creates sinkholes, followed by the collapse of the shore, which eventually washes away.

Trees that were once 5-10 feet inland have either been washed away or are teetering on the bank of the Holston River, and the walking track is now only 3-5 feet from the bank in some places.

Hawkins County received a permit to protect 1,881 feet of shoreline at the park.

The $75,000 that the Hawkins County Commission budgeted for the project last year won’t cover the cost for the full 1,881 feet.

The plan is to address the worst areas, repair them and hope that will be enough to stop erosion in the other areas.