6 Step Process: Getting Started with Boardwalk Design [VIDEO]

Posted: April 26, 2024

If you are thinking about designing a pedestrian bridge, boardwalk, or pier for your next project, the 3-minute video below is for you. When I talk with architects and engineers about their boardwalk projects, a lot of times they'll ask me, "Where do I start; what information do you need from me?"

Our PermaTrak engineering team provides free boardwalk design support on projects where PermaTrak is specified, but there are many decisions you'll need to make to turn your project vision into reality. 

Over time I've realized that a basic checklist can be helpful to guide the boardwalk design process. Whether you need a small pedestrian bridge, a wetlands crossing or structure for a multi use trail, you'll need to think about six key components as you kick off the design process. 

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The following are important considerations you'll want to pin down as we start working together on your project's boardwalk design drawings:  

  • Decide on the alignment: what is the curvature overall, how will you get from point A to point B?PermaTrak_-_City_of_Tampa_Springhill_Pedestrians.jpg 
  • How wide of a boardwalk or pedestrian bridge do you need - do you need to allow for single lane pedestrian traffic, 7' or 8' width or something much wider to accomodate large vehicles or multiple lanes of pedestrians and cyclists? 
  • What type of foundation system will you need? You have several options based on the site - read more on boardwalk foundations here: 
  • How much loading will you require? You may be evaluating the following loading conditions:
    • pedestrian loading
    • Gator or maintenance vehicle
    • emergency vehicle
    • sanitation or utility truck
  • Do you need a railing system? If so, what aesthetics are desired? What type of functionality is required? Cyclists_on_White_Oak_Greenway_-_PermaTrak.jpg
  • Lastly, you'll need to decide on the actual boardwalk material. Is durability or maintenance important? Most often boardwalk cost will be an important factor. Your options include:
    • wood (Southern Yellow Pine through Ipe)
    • composite decking (Trex, Moisture Shield, Evergrain, etc.)
    • precast concrete

Thanks for watching and let me know if you have any questions on getting started with boardwalk design! 

Jason Philbin, P.E. 

President, PermaTrak Concrete Boardwalk System

Topics: Boardwalk Design