By: Melissa Toupin
A chain link fence now separates walkers from Newport's historic Cliff Walk. Large sections of the path closed to the public. The terrain too dangerous to tackle.
"It would be nice if they could get it open, but it's better that they close it and save people's lives," said life long Newport resident Tom Allen.
A stroll along the costal path reveals large boulders, gaping holes and downed fencing. In some of the hardest hit areas like Ruggles cement slabs even buckled under Sandy's surge. Walkers detoured around nearly half of the path including Ledge Road.
"It's the other end where not that many of the tourists went. That's more of a rougher area," said Newport City Manager Jane Howington.
Each year more than 800,000 tourists walk the path behind the mansions. Today Gaylynn Alldridge and her parents visiting from England. They have been looking forward to walking the Cliff Walk since planning the once in a life time trip.
"A little bit disappointed," said Alldridge. "I know the walk is beautiful around the edge of the cliffs."
Some of the path was spared from Sandy. Howington hoping that will suffice until repairs can be made. She hopes that will happen before the next tourist season begins.
"I have to be optimistic," said Howington. "It's a wonderful attraction. Not only to Newport but to Rhode Island. We can't let it go with out getting fixed."
In the mean time stretches of the walkway, like along Easton's beach, remain open for people to enjoy.