Railings & Curbs with the PermaTrak Boardwalk System


Engineers and landscape architects have plenty of material options in designing a boardwalk's railing system, including timber, composite, aluminum, and steel.

Below are some important boardwalk railing design items to consider, regardless of the type of boardwalk material specified:

  • Boardwalk railings are designed per Section 13 of the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. This live load consists of a uniform load of 50 plf and point load of 200 lbs applied per AASHTO. 
  • Per the International Building Code, a railing measuring a minimum 42 inches from boardwalk surface is required where the boardwalk surface to grade elevation exceeds 30 inches (See "Section 3.9.2 - Geometry" in Railings Section of AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications). This is also in accordance with AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
  • Otherwise, where the grade separation is less than 30 inches, curbs may be used as a “warning bumper” or “toe curb," although they are not required.
  • Local code requirements for bicyclist applications determine whether the railing needs to be 42 inches or 54 inches tall. 

Railing Cost Table

*These are only estimates meant to show general cost ranges for different railing materials.

Common Railing Solutions

Below are some different railing types we have seen used in conjunction with the PermaTrak boardwalk system. While PermaTrak does not supply these railings and have not created any specifications, we have been involved in many boardwalk designs and have assembled a library of details and specifications from other designers. Contact us with your boardwalk railing questions, we're happy to help.

Spencer Creek 1. Aluminum railing with wire mesh panels at Spencer Creek in St. Peters, MO.
Beckett Park 2. Aluminum picket style railing by SpecRail at Beckett Park wetland boardwalks in West Chester, OH.
White Rock Creek 3. Galvanized steel railing on boardwalk at White Rock Creek Greenbelt Trail in Dallas, TX.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Center 4. Brushed, marine grade aluminum upright posts with stainless steel cable strands at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, FL.
Adams Park 5. Timber posts with stainless steel cable strand railing at Adams Park in Atlanta, GA
McMullen Greenway 6. Galvanized steel posts with stainless steel tensioned cable strands at McMullen Greenway in Charlotte, NC
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 7. Stainless steel tensioned cable strand railing at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (owned by US Fish and Wildlife) in VA.
Osprey Harbor Observation Deck 8. Basic Southern Yellow Pine timber boardwalk railing at Osprey Harbor Observation Deck near Sarasota, FL.
White Oak Greenway 9. Timber picket style railing at White Oak Greenway in Cary, NC.
Blackwater Wildlife Refuge 10. Timber railing with steel grab rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Blackwater, MD.
Piedmont Crossing Retirement Community 11. Composite railing at Piedmont Crossing Retirement Community in Thomasville, NC.
Live Oak Park 12. Composite railing at Live Oak Park observation deck - The Villages, FL.

PermaTrak® Railing Connections

Timber Railing, Steel Bracket

PermaTrak supplies the top-mounted bracket and would pre-form holes in the treads where needed so that the contractor does not have to drill in the field. 

All brackets and connection hardware are galvanized steel.



Aluminum Railing, Aluminum Base Plate

Using rail post base plate dimensions provided by the installing contractor, PermaTrak will pre-form holes in the treads for easier installation.

Base plates are connected to the tread via a bolted connection. Bolts pass through the pre-formed holes in the tread and are secured using a plate and fasteners on the underside of the tread.

PermaTrak® Concrete Curbs

As mentioned above, on boardwalk applications where the walking surface is less than 30'' above grade, PermaTrak can supply a precast concrete curb, otherwise referred to as a "toe curb."


julian-b-lane-curb Click to read more about this boardwalk for the City of Tampa.