PermaTrak Footbridge Crossings Built at Rotary Trail - Birmingham, AL

Posted: September 7, 2016

PermaTrak footbridge crossings at Rotary Trailfootbridge_crossings_rotary_trail_permatrak_2.jpg

The first ever PermaTrak boardwalks in Alabama are now open to the public in Birmingham, in the form of two footbridge crossings on Rotary Trail. As part of Railroad Park, the new Rotary Trail is part of a larger effort to revitalize the downtown Birmingham area.

The Birmingham Rotary Club sponsored the project with a $3.5M gift to celebrate its 100 year anniversary back in 2013. Known affectionately as “Birmingham’s Living Room,” Railroad Park boasts 19 acres of greenery and is the home to many of the city’s recreational activities. The Rotary Trail's ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 6, 2016, before follow up construction work  and the  opening of the trail to the public on May 6, 2016.

Designers from Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood, Inc. (GMC) originally connected with PermaTrak at the Twin States ASLA trade show in Natchez, Mississippi. Together they designed two PermaTrak footbridge crossings on the trail (82 LF and 140 LF) that were installed by the Wilsonville-based Clements Dean Building Company.footbridge_crossings_rotary_trail_permatrak.jpg

Both footbridge crossings are nine feet wide with a post and cable strand railing system, providing over eight feet of space for walking, jogging, bike riding, and dog walking, all popular activities in the park.


Due to its humid climate, Birmingham remains damp throughout most of the year, making PermaTrak’s maintenance-free, concrete boardwalk an ideal fit for the new trail.

More about Rotary Trail and downtown Birmingham

Rails to Trails Conservancy also had a hand in the project. An eco-conscious organization, Rails to Trails transforms abandoned and unused railroad tracks into trails for public use. The Rotary Trail was converted from the out-of-use Seaboard Air Line Railroad, a passenger and freight railway which began service to Birmingham in 1904. Since it’s termination, the abandoned railway, which sits 20 ft. below the street level, was rifled with graffiti and debris. With the newly constructed trail, what was once a dangerous and discarded railroad bed is now a lively spot for recreation and fitness.rotary_trail_sign_permatrak_footbridge.jpg

The trail has generated a lot of buzz from the locals and visitors alike. Nostalgia surrounds the park and the downtown area, especially around the 46-foot tall “Rotary Trail in the Magic City” sign that was reconstructed and placed at the western entrance of Rotary Trail. The original sign that read “Birmingham in the Magic City” was built in the 1920s and was torn down over 60 years ago, but with the revival of the park came a new sign.

The trail is just one of many amenities Railroad Park has to offer. Two playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment, a designated skating area, Railroad Park Dining Car, solar-powered cell phone charging stations and free Wi-Fi throughout the park are just the beginning.

Life is bustling just outside the park as well with the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Birmingham Zoo, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens, and Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons all in the local area. The park and Rotary Trail are open daily from 7 am to 11 pm, so stop by or pass through and become a part of Birmingham’s next chapter.

Click below to see more photos of the Rotary Trail and completed PermaTrak footbridges.

Topics: Multi Use Trails and Greenways