A bumpy section of closed roadway that leads to Walnut Beach has been paved for walkers and bike riders, and Mayor Ben Blake said signs will be installed marking it as a pedestrian/bike beachway.

The section of Nettleton Road from Monroe to Walnut Beach remains closed to vehicles but the Public Works Department resurfaced the road to make it more accessible and inviting for bikes and pedestrians, Blake said.

The section of roadway leads to the Walnut Beach parking lot, and also connects to the old dump road. The loop is a popular path for bikers and walkers. The Nettleton Road portion had, however, been bumpy, crumbling in spots and surrounded by overhanging branches and beach area vegetation.

There was also a lot of debris and concrete blocks along the path.

“This accessway to the beach was not easily accessible and not attractive,” Blake said, explaining one reason for the makeover.

“As the weather gets nicer, we’ll install a few additional enhancements including benches and better signage marking this pedestrian/bike beachway.”

But aesthetics wasn’t the only reason for the work, which was all done by city crews. Blake said the new pavement also allows access for emergency vehicles, and gives firefighters easier access to the personal watercrafts stored at the beach and used during emergency rescues there.

The parking lot at the beach has also been expanded in that area to allow for better access to the emergency equipment when the parking lot is full, Blake said.

New gates will be installed at both ends of the newly paved road so they can be raised for emergency vehicles to get through. There will be bollards installed so that bicycles and pedestrians can pass through.

Finally, drainage issues came into play. Blake said a storm water pipe in that area needed repairs, and that was another reason for the work.

The old dump road was not repaved as part of the project. But that is a state road, not a city road, Blake pointed out.

Still, with the new pavement, people can now bike or walk a nice loop from East Broadway, along dump road to Walnut Beach.