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Welcome! PermaTrak's Boardwalk Blog is for landscape architects, engineers, and parks & recreation professionals. We aim to provide educational resources on boardwalk design, boardwalk materials and construction practices for building trail and greenway systems. In reading our posts twice weekly, you will deepen your knowledge of commercial boardwalk materials and improve your overall understanding of boardwalk construction practices.

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Is a Concrete Boardwalk Durable Enough to Withstand Salt Exposure?

winter climate concrete boardwalk resized 600

I've had multiple conversations recently about applying salt during the winter months to our boardwalk system. I decided to post an email exchange about this topic for those who are considering a boardwalk application in an area with harsh winter climates. 

Do Concrete Boardwalks Crack? Lessons From a Structural Engineer

engineering team meeting

Often in our meetings and presentations, people want to know, "Do you have problems with cracking in your concrete boardwalks?" It's a fair question-- people see cracks in sidewalks, parking garages, temporary highway barriers, etc. Nobody wants to see big, ugly cracks in the walking surface of a new boardwalk application. I've spent the last 20+ years of my professional life designing precast concrete structures and I wanted to dive into this issue to explain two things:

Event: First Concrete Boardwalk Installation for Massachusetts DOT

Norwottuck Rail Trail Map resized 600

The rehabilitation and extension of the Norwottuck Rail Trail, originally opened in 1992, will continue this fall before reopening in 2014. This reconstruction effort will include a widening of the trail, improved crossing signage, bridge redecking and a PermaTrak boardwalk providing 130 linear feet of connectivity over a wetland area. With over 12' of usable space, the boardwalk extends a bustling multi use path that originally stretched from Northampton to Amherst. Today the trail gives pedestrians and cyclists access to Belchertown in the east and Easthampton in the south. 

Going Green: Finding Environmentally Friendly Boardwalk Materials

future generations sustainability resized 600

Last week I talked to an environmental specialist from a local Public Works department here in Florida who told me about a recently awarded grant that stipulated they use a boardwalk product produced with recycled materials. This is a topic we are discussing often now, as taxpayers and grant administrators want to see money spent on products that are as environmentally friendly as possible. This makes good sense; I believe we all need to be responsible users of our natural resources.

Designing and Building Wetland Boardwalks – Top Down Construction

boardwalk foundations installed from above

Designers working on wetland boardwalks often approach us with similar questions as we kick off the conversation. Their clients may also ask us directly: how can we simplify the permitting process? How can we provide access to a wetland area without harming the wetland itself?

Commercial Boardwalk Design - 5 Cost Saving Tips for Designers

Boardwalk materials delivered by helicopter

As a boardwalk designer, I’ve been lucky to team up with a number of outstanding landscape architects in designing some fine boardwalks. However, along the way I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and I wanted to pass these items along to you.

What Can Steve Jobs Teach Us About Boardwalk Construction?

Steve Jobs Apple Speech

Do you work for a rebel company? Are you a rebel yourself? 

Pedestrian Bridge Design: 7 Considerations for Architects & Engineers

Hurricane Creek Pedestrian Bridge   26' Span

Oftentimes while presenting the PermaTrak system to a new audience, I’m asked about best practices used during the design process for pedestrian bridges.

Project Update: Boardwalk Reconstruction at Jupiter Inlet Beach Park

Jupiter Inlet Beach Park Boardwalk resized 600

The timber boardwalk at Jupiter Beach Park on the south side of Jupiter Inlet in Florida has taken a beating over the years from ocean spray, sand abrasion, rough wave action and UV exposure under the FL sun. Jupiter Beach Park offers a large jetty where inlet fishing is available 24 hours a day, so the boardwalk leading to this jetty/pier has struggled under heavy pedestrian foot traffic.The original boardwalk material constructed of treated Southern Yellow Pine has degraded to such an extent that the boardwalk must now be completely demolished and replaced. As timber planks have continued to rot, check, split and twist, this well-known boardwalk at Jupiter Inlet has required constant management and maintenance funding from the Jupiter Inlet District, a special taxing district. 

Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway - 1st Concrete Boardwalk in Charlotte

mcalpine creek crossing charlotte nc resized 600

Recently, several hundred members of Charlotte’s local ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) heard about the successful completion of a new greenway connector to the Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway in South Charlotte. Mr. Rod Fritz, Project Manager with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, and Mr. Jeff Oden, Manager of Civil Engineering with Stewart Engineering, spoke at the Carolina Thread Trail Forum in Mooresville on December 6, 2012. They also presented again to a branch meeting for ASCE in Charlotte on January 15, 2013. (For more, click to see their McAlpine Creek Greenway Case Study presentation).

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