This year, old man winter has delivered a beating to one of Roanoke’s real treasures — Prospect Road, aka the “old road” up Mill Mountain.
A little more than halfway up, freeze-and-thaw cycles have left grainy, pre-gravel spots in its asphalt surface.
Chances are good those rough patches will bloom into potholes this spring.
The old road’s aging rock wall has suffered, too. In more places it’s spilling onto the road or bulging as if it’s about to.
Recently, a refrigerator-sized boulder tumbled down the mountain’s steep slopes next to the under-and-over bridge and burst into a thousand shards and chunks on the pavement.
And down near the bottom is the former toll gate, which arches proudly over the road and Mill Mountain Greenway.
The adjacent tollbooth’s wood-shingle roof still shows gaping, splintered holes from a winter windstorm two years ago. Eaves over the arch are still busted and rotting, too.
Last March, I wrote a column about this marvelous road, some of the people who go there almost religiously, and the slow, inexorable toll mother nature is taking on it.
It sparked an initial flurry of interest in repairing the damaged tollgate and booth.
City Councilman Court Rosen, some members of the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke, and some folks from Roanoke’s Parks and Recreation Department, began talking about repairs.
Some moms and dads who like to walk the road with their kids volunteered to help.
Rosen persuaded a construction company to donate some shingles. At least one contractor offered skilled labor.
More recently, Kevin and Nancy Dye, who live in Rockledge mansion, raised $3,500 for the tollgate’s repair.
But the rotting eaves and holes in the roof remain.