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Putnam Park Walking Trail to Reopen Following Repair Project

RELEASED: July 3, 2006

workers grading repaired section of the trail
Workers made progress on grading the repaired section of the trail and installing a new hand rail. (Photo by Rick Mickelson, LTS)

EAU CLAIRE — The Putnam Park walking trail along the south bank of the Chippewa River on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus, closed since November 2003, will reopen July 8 following completion of a seven-week construction project to repair a section of retaining wall and trail that collapsed 2½ years ago as a result of heavy rains. The collapsed retaining wall left a steep drop to the river, and university officials immediately closed and barricaded the trail.

The repair project, which began May 22, involved removing approximately 125 feet of stone masonry retaining wall, including the portion that had collapsed, and 75 feet of wood handrail, said Terry Classen, UW-Eau Claire's director of facilities planning and management. Contractors then constructed approximately 70 feet of concrete foundation on rock, 125 feet of modular block retaining wall with geogrid soil reinforcing and 75 feet of wood handrail. They also are restoring approximately 75 feet of crushed aggregate walking path, Classen said.

MZ Construction Inc. of Linden is the contractor constructing the project, and Ayres Associates of Eau Claire provided engineering services. The $180,000 project was approved in February 2005 by the state Building Commission and administered by the Department of Administration's Division of State Facilities, Classen said.

The location of the project created unique challenges for the engineer and contractor, Classen said.

"It was difficult accessing the construction site with materials and machinery via the narrow and steep path, and workers were limited to using the very smallest of machinery," he said. "Also, design and construction had to be sensitive to minimally disrupting Putnam Park. Ayres Associates consulted with the Putnam Park Commission on a number of occasions as design choices were being evaluated."

When the trail reopens it will provide a safe route for hikers in Putnam Park, Classen said.

"The result of this work is the restoration of a safe trail with a steep but gradual incline," he said.

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JP

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