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BOC approves $4.3 million to replace 1.8 miles of Greenway boardwalk

Forsyth County Commissioners have voted to approve a $4.3-milllion bid to replace boardwalk on 1.8 miles of the Big Creek Greenway from the McFarland Parkway to Union Hill Road.  

During a recent work session, Forsyth County Procurement Director Donna Kukarola said the areas in need of replacement were “in poor shape at this time” and the project had come in cheaper than expected.

Laura Pate, deputy director of administration and recreation for the county’s parks and recreation department, recently told the Forsyth County News that the area was “one of the first areas to be built and is a heavily used section.”

The Greenway is an 11-mile-long concrete and boardwalk path system through south and central Forsyth along the namesake Big Creek and one of the county’s most popular outdoor amenities for walkers, runners and bikers.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said the project would involve demolishing the boardwalk down to the existing footings, which would be used if still in good shape, and replacing the section with a steel truss system with wood boardwalk. The new section will look like existing sections, but Pryor said “the steel truss system will make it more load bearing and durable.”

In an email, Kukarola told the FCN that the design would have an anticipated lifespan of more than 15 years.

The replacement sections will not include a concrete deck with steel framing, which had been previously discussed by commissioners for new replacements.

That replacement work is expected to be done in phases over a few years on about 258,000 square feet of existing boardwalk and cost between $22.8 million and $38 million.

Kukarola said the engineering firm developing the new design was still working on those plans “but with a waterline near the existing location of the boardwalk we would have to re-route portions of the boardwalk, thus additional permitting would be required, easements obtained, items that would slow the project down in the area of most need of replacement.”

Pryor said 80% of the section between McFarland and Union Hill was located over a 40-year-old sewer line that the county shares an easement with.  

“So, we had the challenge of not boring any new footings and risk damage to the sewer line,” Pryor said. “And if there is an issue with the sewer line, they can take the section of wooden boardwalk apart quickly to get to the problem area, where that would not be the case with concrete.”