Helical piles have been gaining notoriety as an ideal foundation solution for many types of trails, boardwalks, and walkways. The town of Ashland, Virginia sought a pedestrian and bicycle trail constructed to connect Carter Park to the existing Ashland trolley line trail. The trail is an easy half-mile walk along a very straight and level path. To connect Carter Park to the Ashland Trolley Line Park trail a boardwalk was needed over the steep embankment along Walder road. The Ashland Trolley Line Park Trail is a Greenway trail which is protected and managed for conservation and recreational purposes.
Helical piles are ideal for building trails in areas that require minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment. They can be installed with relatively small, limited access equipment and are designed to have minimal impact on the vegetation and the soil itself. Since no soil excavation is required, they are an increasingly popular foundation method for trails and boardwalks. Unlike concrete, helical piles can be immediately loaded with no curing time required. Helical piles can also be battered (installed at an angle) for lateral stability.
Learn more about helical pile Instant Foundation™ solutions for boardwalks and walkways.
The contractor, Stable Foundations, installed 124 CHANCE® helical piles to support the approximately 1,213 linear feet of the ten-foot-wide boardwalk. This is the first boardwalk in Virginia constructed with Permatrak® precast concrete sections supported by helical piles. The piles, consisting of a RS278.203 8/10/12 lead with extensions, were installed to an ultimate compression load of 42 kips per pile, averaging an embedment depth of 30’ per pile. The helical piles were installed over the course of ten days with an average of twelve helical piles per day.
Due to the steep embankment, the helical piles varied in height approximately eight to ten feet above ground on the steeper side of the embankment and approximately two feet above ground on the higher elevation side in order to maintain a level boardwalk. It was extremely important to make sure all the helical piles were completely level in order to support the Permatrak precast concrete sections. Steel galvanized frames with X bracing were designed to keep the helical piles in line. The CHANCE helical piles were spaced ten feet apart to support the boardwalk.
The combination of the Permatrak concrete and its stable helical pile foundation ensures that this boardwalk will provide a safe pedestrian pathway for Ashland’s residents for years to come.
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