Award of Merit Landscape/Urban Development: Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
Owner City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
Project Management Schuylkill River Development Corp.
Lead Designer URS Corp.
Landscaping Design CH Planning Services
General Contractor Crossing Construction Co.
Contractor Weeks Marine
Structural/Civil Engineer URS Corp.
MEP Engineer Pennoni Associates
Electrical Contractor Nucero Electrical Construction
Ramp Design Michael Baker International
The boardwalk follows a 2,000-ft section of the popular Schuylkill River Trail along a 17-ft-wide concrete bridge, located approximately 50 ft off a narrow shoreline. Built to withstand 6-ft tides and frequent flooding, the boardwalk is made up of 22 spans and 21 caissons with prestressed concrete bulb-tee beams. These support the winding gray-tinted concrete decks that were scored with a tining rake in patterns that resemble wooden planks in order to provide traction. A flexible work schedule was required to set multiple pier caps to fit with tide and daylight schedules. A small fleet of boats shuttled workers between the piers and shore.
Delivery of concrete to the piers at the north end had to be coordinated with activity on an adjacent active rail line. All material had to be delivered at the railroad crossing, lifted from the overhead South Street Bridge or floated in by barge. A majority of work was over open water, so life jackets were mandatory at all times for employees working at the site.
To prevent electrical issues during flood events, solar lighting with low-maintenance LED fixtures were installed along the boardwalk. In addition to landings at each end of the boardwalk, an ADA-accessible ramp connection to the South Street Bridge was incorporated into the project to provide a connection from neighborhoods in South Philadelphia. Four overlooks were incorporated into the boardwalk to provide areas where users can fish and enjoy the river and skyline views.