New Pedestrian Bridges Connect Students to Natural Learning Environment with Nearby Trails

Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 by
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Blue Valley School District’s (BVSD) Wilderness Science Center provided a unique opportunity for local students. It offered activities in the building, as well as access to nature for enrichment. In the past, students could reach the forest via a trail system. However, the pedestrian trail bridges had been undermined or washed out over the years. They needed to be replaced, so students could once again enjoy the entire area.

Affinis was selected for the project by BVSD. We began by conducting a topographic survey and performing a site inspection of the existing bridges. We looked at the span length and foundation type for the places impacted. This data was used to inform our design plans.

To make the trail more usable, our structural engineering team created bridge plans and specifications for three pedestrian bridges. Each was in a separate location, along the same pathway, within the forest. All had to be tied back into the existing trail. To avoid realignment, we replaced the bridges in the same spot or near where they were originally found.

The project site posed several challenges for our team. We had to determine how our construction partner could gain access to the site while preserving the area as much as possible. Anything impacted would need to be restored. Our team planned a route the contractor could take to access each bridge location.

In addition to engineering and surveying, Affinis also provided construction engineering services. Our team oversaw the project on behalf of the client. This was particularly important given the complex nature of the site. With easy access to the project team, we could quickly resolve any new challenges, while keeping our client’s needs top of mind.

Construction was completed earlier this year in the spring. Now, current students can safely access the entire forest behind the science center.

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