Work has started on the clean-up of the viaduct system within the City of Newton. This is the non-assuming, but much needed system installed within the city to deal with heavy rain and flood waters. Most never knew it was there, much less what it is called. Until it is needed.
Earlier in summer, Mayor Pollock was asked by the Newton County Revitalization Group to make the viaducts condition a priority. The was goal for the beautification of this unique waterway, increasing its functionality for the citizens and preserving a historical icon.
How did Newton get this rare waterway? In 1935 President Franklin D Roosevelt created an agency to employ people in need of work called the Work Progress Administration. In 1939 it was renamed the Work Projects Administration and many public works were put in place. The program became known for short as the WPA.
The City of Newton benefited from one of those projects. The viaduct that traverses across the center of town is this project.
The native stone viaduct runs from its beginning at the Pete Hughes Memorial Park ending an emptying into Caney Creek on loop 505 South. At least three feet deep and six to eight feet wide at some points the old viaduct still serves Newton as its primary drainage system during heavy rains.
Its care and upkeep are essential. Damage was noted as I strolled around the work site. There are areas of damage. Loosened native stone and sections of shifting walls due to the years of tree and shrub overgrowth and neglect have taken a toll. But even though, the craftsmanship and materials of the 1930’s WPA historical viaduct system has held extremely well. Due to it being an essential need for the city an expected repair plan is anticipated that will consider the viaduct's historical aspects as it becomes fully functional once again.
The strip of elegant and beautiful stonework at the Pete Hughes Memorial Park is the best example of a cleared section that showcases workmanship.
Thank you, Mayor Pollock and the City of Newton workers, for a great beginning cleanup of this useful and historical waterway that Newton can be proud of and showcase.