Cannonsburg Trail and Bridge through Townsend Park
Cannon Township cuts through hilly terrain to make a trail connection to its downtown.
Cannon Township hired Prein&Newhof to design a 0.4-mile-long, 10-ft.-wide wide trail curving between Townsend Park and downtown Cannonsburg. The paved trail includes a 40-ft.-long prefabricated bridge over Bear Creek with 100 ft. of wooden boardwalk over its floodplain and a wetlands. P&N designed the trail including the boardwalk, bridge abutments, and retaining walls.
Cannon Township funded the project with a combination of money from their millage and an MDOT Enhancement Grant. Users now can walk three miles from Cannon Township’s Hall to the Honey Creek Inn in downtown Cannonsburg!
Bear Creek is a cold-water trout stream. P&N’s MDEQ-permitted design and close observation during construction helped minimize negative impacts to the stream and riparian wetlands.
The design of the bridge and boardwalk meet MDOT H-10 loading rules (10-ton vehicles). Though they can handle a 20,000 lb. vehicle, the bridge and boardwalks have pedestrian-scale, park-like character.
P&N designed the trail to maintain and enhance the unique character of Townsend Park. During construction, Cannon Township closed the old gravel parking lot for Townsend Park near Cannonsburg. The project restored the area of the parking lot with toposoil, steps and several trees, creating a more natural scene along the trail.
P&N assisted Cannon Township to obtain several easements for the trail and coordinated work with the Kent County Parks Department during design and construction. P&N engaged the owner of many of the commercial properties in Cannonsburg and coordinated the trail and restoration work with him. He invested in the simultaneous beautification of his properties, resulting in seamless improvements to the downtown.
In order to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, the maximum grade on the trail is 5%. To meet this grade, structural sections of the trail required cutting into the wooded hillsides. These cuts could have destroyed the character of the park, but P&N’s design, combining cut arms with retaining walls, grassy slopes, and new tree plantings created not only a functional and useful trail, but a beautiful experience for trail users.
The retaining walls minimized the environmental impact of the trail in hilly areas, but the steep slopes above them could have caused runoff and erosion. P&N used a special seed/restoration mix on the steepest slopes that provided thick grass cover quickly, minimizing potential erosion in these difficult-to-restore areas. The sprayed mix held up to hard rain without washing away.
Scott Post, PE, Project Manager
- (616) 364-8491