Fletcher Creek Greenway Trail, Phase 2 CEI
When a community master plan design for a 5-mile greenway and walkable and bikeable pathway along Fletcher Creek was phasing into completion, the community of Bartlett, Tennessee was ready. Once complete, the ADA-compliant 10-foot trail would connect multiple neighborhoods to an 82-acre municipal center, baseball fields, a lake, and middle school. But first, a few challenges needed to be addressed, including a tremendous rainy season that preceded construction. Working in a wet environment would have required undercutting using soil cement/stabilization. Chemicals from this process could make their way into Fletcher Creek, causing unintended pollution. It could also cause long-term damage to the roots of mature 100-year-old trees along the greenway’s boundaries. Protecting the trees was an important goal of the project to maintain the area’s beauty and provide lush canopies over the pathway. In addition, day-to-day Construction Engineering Inspections (CEI) would need to be performed and only by an experienced team member in the local Certified Chapter 8 program.
With the rain came a solution that required patience. The team collectively chose to let the waterlogged area sit for a few months until drier conditions offered a better working scenario. In return, no undercutting or soil cement for stabilization was needed. Grading was also raised for additional soil to further protect the roots of the mature trees. Building a balance of saving trees while clearing others to build a trail for a greenway takes experience to fully understand how to properly care for creeks, trees, and other elements of the environment. The Barge team provided this experience, adding to the project’s overall long-term stability for a pedestrian and bicycle greenway to serve at least 25 years.
The intentional delay in construction also protected Fletcher Creek’s water system from potential runoff of soil cement chemicals that would have been required if construction started earlier. Silt fences and straw logs were used to assist in erosion control and to keep mud from entering the creek as well, providing additional value to the project and the integrity of the environment. This included adding a premade bridge to the design in lieu of pouring a bridge in place, keeping the bridge build offsite and out of the creek in the process.
As for a solution to provide a required day-to-day onsite CEI inspector, Barge’s experienced and certified Chapter 8 construction representative for CEI services met the challenge, setting up meetings with the client twice a week throughout the project to include the city engineer, project engineer, city park director, and contractor. This allowed communication channels to remain open for collaboration and problem-solving when doing change orders, RFIs, and submittal reviews for a higher level of quality control and goal attainment.
Through the CEI team’s experience and thorough biweekly inspections, the Fletcher Creek Greenway project came in under budget by $50,000 and within timeframe of the project calendar. Mature trees were protected through adaptive scheduling and raised grading for additional soil. Water quality was preserved by way of offsite bridge building and erosion control. Success can also be measured by the people who use the greenway and pathway. Barge’s client now visits the site regularly for pleasure instead of work, taking in its beauty and walkability. The community shares a renewed appreciation of the park and its tie-in to the greenway. And Barge’s own construction representative, who has been with the firm for over 40 years, finds the greenway to be a special place to unwind, listen to the waters of the creek, and experience the peace of the environment.
The Barge Factor
Tasked as a transportation project, the Fletcher Creek Greenway Trail project focused on making connections for multiple neighborhoods with a 5-mile greenway trail surrounded by century-old trees. Providing day-to-day CEI inspections, adaptive scheduling, offsite bridge building, and tree preservation, Barge cut costs by $50,000, giving the community a walkable and bikeable greenway trail for the next 25+ years.