Work continues on wetlands project
by David Atchison
PELL CITY — Engineers were completing a study Friday morning in the area where construction of a new wetlands platform is planned.

“This is our next step to getting this completed,” said Mike Riley, president of the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association.

Two engineers, Chris Roberts and Matt McCullough, with Terracon Consultants Inc. of Birmingham, were at Lakeside Park Friday.

Roberts said they were “investigating the subsurface conditions” in the wetlands area where LMLPA and the city are partnering to build a boardwalk and observation platform.

Dick Franke, a member of the LMLPA and a retired engineer who is helping oversee the wetlands project, was also at the park observing the work.

Engineers tested the ground conditions and collected soil samples.

“The good news is there is firm to stiff clay to support the foundation,” Franke said.

He said the proposed 70 foot long walkway would provide visitors a 360 degree view of the wetlands at Lakeside Park.

Franke designed the platform, which is expected to be built with composite materials, not lumber, to extend the life of the boardwalk and observation platform.

Franke said the structure will not weigh a lot, but the foundation must withstand the lateral load from the flow of water in and out of the wetlands area.

Roberts said once their work is completed, engineers can determine what foundation system is needed for the boardwalk and builders can provide a more realistic project cost.

More than $20,000 was raised for the project, but fundraising efforts will continue, according to LMLPA officials.

Next week, Alabama Power Company will begin raising the level of Logan Martin Lake. The lake must be at winter pool for workers to construct the wetlands platform in Lakeside Park.

Franke said everything should be in place so construction of the new boardwalk and observation platform could begin between November 2013 and February 2014.

He said the observation platform is about 12 feet wide and 40 feet long, and approximately one classroom of students could fill the observation platform. The observation platform will have benches that allow the public to get off their feet and rest while enjoying the scenery.

Franke said the actual boardwalk is wide enough for two side-by-side wheelchairs to pass each other. The structure will have banisters so small children can’t fall off the walkway or platform and into the water.

He said the LMLPA will have more time to continue raising money for the project until the lake level is brought back down to the winter pool level, which is about 5 feet below the normal summer pool level.

Franke said Isabella Trussell, who oversees the LMLPA’s water monitoring program and serves on the group’s wetlands project committee, is also involved in the wetlands project.

The mayor and council have publicly said the city supports the project. The city will maintain the boardwalk and platform once they are built.

The Logan Martin Lake Protection Association was formed in 1995 and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It advocates and promotes the general welfare of Logan Martin Lake.

For more information about the LMLPA wetlands project or to donate money for the project, contact Riley at 205-525-5309. For more information about the LMLPA or to join the group, visit the LMLPA website at www.lmlpa.org.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

© 2013