Asphalt surface course applied to the newly-compacted base.

The Tale of the Doodle Rail Trail – from Planning to Implementation

Southeast, Trail Design, Trail Master Plan
Blake Sanders

by Blake Sanders, Design Associate at Alta Planning + Design

The Cities of Easley and Pickens, SC purchased the Pickens “Doodle-line” Railway with the intent of exploring the creation of an eight-mile-long rail trail in this corridor. The rail trail will serve as transportation and a recreation amenity for residents and visitors, and enhance connectivity between the two cities.

Alta was selected by the Cities of Easley and Pickens’ officials to both master plan and complete a design-build effort for the Doodle Rail Trail. Being involved in every step of the process, from planning to implementation, is an exceptional journey, and one that Alta prides itself on being able to take with our clients.

The design-build team is staying closely involved to make sure this 7.5-mile greenway is completed within engineering boundaries, under budget, and on-time.  The plan is to have the Doodle Rail Trail opened by May 25. Currently, King Asphalt, the General Contractor (GC), has paved 3.2 miles, completed final grading for 5.2 miles (awaiting a little better weather before paving), and has completed infrastructure repairs (storm, sanitary, water, etc.) for 6.0 miles.

Watching something be built, developed, or transformed before your own eyes is amazing, but there are bound to be low and high points throughout the transformation process.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the Doodle Rail Trail design-build has produced many roller coasters the past month.

Full depth base reclamation.

Full depth base reclamation.

With so much rain through the winter months, the General Contractor decided to add a cement mixture to add stability to the soil to keep the project on schedule.

With so much rain through the winter months, the General Contractor decided to add a cement mixture to add stability to the soil to keep the project on schedule.

Asphalt surface course applied to the newly-compacted base.

Asphalt surface course applied to the newly compacted base.

Once the asphalt is complete, the subcontractors are following up with specific trail amenities as outlined by Alta (fencing, landscaping, road crossings, bollards, etc.).

Once the asphalt is complete, the subcontractors are following up with specific trail amenities as outlined by Alta (fencing, landscaping, road crossings, bollards, etc.).

Deconstruction of the supersurface, and removal of the i-beams from the subsurface, revealed severe pile and bent deterioration. The design-build team worked to determine bent replacement, environmental impacts, and impacts to completion schedule.

Deconstruction of the supersurface and removal of the i-beams from the subsurface revealed severe pile and bent deterioration. The design-build team worked to determine bent replacement, environmental impacts, and impacts to completion schedule.

Despite these bumps in the road, construction is still on schedule and we are excited to start using the trail in late May. Alta is also managing the Cities’ logo contest for the trail.

Update – The Doodle Trail breaks ground.

Blake Sanders

About Blake Sanders

Blake Sanders has worked for eight years as a Project Manager and Senior Designer. His experience has been primarily in streetscape improvement planning, corridor studies, bike and greenway planning, as well as municipal, campus, park, and recreation design.
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