Rogue River trail wins national award

City officials and representatives of the Rogue River Trail Phase II were present to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the nature trail in June, 2008. It earned national honors for alliances.

City officials and representatives of the Rogue River Trail Phase II were present to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the nature trail in June, 2008. It earned national honors for alliances.

Phase II honored as Public Works Project of the Year

It has been 20 years in the works, but has been worth the wait. The Rogue River Trail Phase II project has been named a Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA).

“It is a great project, and it’s beautiful. It’s nice to know how we stack up nationally,” said Rockford City Manager Michael Young. The nature trail and boardwalk that residents have been enjoying since June 2008 at the northwest side of the Rockford dam is the second phase of three planned.

The first part of the project was to the south of Ten Mile Road with a boardwalk and viewing and fishing platform. The third phase will be a continuation of the boardwalk up the Rogue River for another one-third mile. Ideally, Young would love to see a walking bridge over the Rogue River connecting the trail to the White Pine Trail.

“That’s what our surveys show residents want, but it would depend on funding,” Young said. He also said a bridge over the river would have to be approved by the state.

The City of Rockford,  along with primary contractor Katerberg VerHage and primary consultant Paradigm Design Inc., will be presented with the award for the trail during APWA’s International Public Works Congress & Exposition held in September in Columbus, Ohio.

APWA Project of the Year awards are presented annually to promote management and administration excellence of public works projects by recognizing alliances between managing agencies, contractors, consultants and their cooperative achievements.

This year APWA selected 19 projects in five categories: Disaster or Emergency Construction/Repair, Environment, Historical Restoration/Preservation, Structures, and Transportation. The Rogue River Trail Phase II project received the award in the Structures category, less than $5 million range.

The Rogue River Trail Phase II  is the second phase of three to create a scenic trail along the Rogue River, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designated trout stream, from the south side to the north side of the City. The project involves the development of a natural area that is nestled between residential properties and the Rogue River with the intent of preserving natural features and wildlife.

More than 1,500 feet of trail have been added to the City’s trail system starting at Peppler Park/Rockford Dam and winding north along the bank of the Rogue River. The trail includes 100 feet of a 12-foot-wide concrete sidewalk, 1,325 feet of an eight-foot-wide elevated boardwalk, 350 feet of an eight-foot-wide at-grade boardwalk, and two observation platforms where fishing and sightseeing can take place. The trail is designed with accessibility in mind and provides access for all to enjoy the wooded environment, natural wetlands and wildlife, as well as the beautiful Rogue River.

The boardwalk was carefully designed to be low impact in an effort to preserve and protect the existing vegetation and natural surroundings. To minimize habitat disturbance along the river’s edge, the trail was located up the bank away from the shoreline. Prior to the start of the clearing operation, the centerline of the trail was staked in the field so that the City, contractor and consultant could review the impact this alignment would have on the existing trees. The City wanted to limit the amount of tree removals to only those necessary for construction of the trail. The path alignment was adjusted several times to avoid removing several large mature trees. One of the observation platforms was also relocated to avoid tree removals.

Site conditions were a major factor in the design and construction of the trail. The topography along this section of river consists of approximately 40 feet of elevation change from the river’s edge to the top of the bank. Most of the slopes consist of a 1:1 or steeper slope. Design and construction methods had to minimize disturbance of the existing slopes to prevent potentially serious soil erosion. This was accomplished by installing the piling from a barge and bringing materials in from the barge and down the completed path as it was constructed. The contractor customized a trailer that would fit between the railings so that the deck boards could be brought in from the south end of the project since the north end does not provide any access.

The trail was completed in time for the City of Rockford’s annual Start of Summer Celebration. A ribbon-cutting for the trail was held on June 14, 2008.

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