VOL. 109 | NO. 23 | Thursday, November 2, 1995
lj 10/5 cates
City requests bids for Riverbluff Walkway
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
The city has issued a request for bids for the first phase of the Riverbluff Walkway, which will follow the old Memphis Historic Trail route and feature a "gateway" over Beale Street.
"This first phase is for construction of a 1-mile section in the heart of downtown, from Calhoun Street in the South Bluffs community, reaching north to Union Avenue or Court Avenue, depending on the budgeting, said Ritchie Smith, a principal of Ritchie Smith Associates, design consultants for the Riverbluff Walkway.
"This is the prime portion, since this is where all the people are - Memphians who enjoy the river along with the visitors and tourists. "(The walkway) gives them a scenic trail from along the top of the bluffs from which to view the river and the sunset," Smith said.
"It's also a very historic route. The Memphis Historic Trail was developed along this route in the downtown area in the 1950s and 60s," he said.
Smith said the project is valued at $1.6 million, and the city has had the money on hand for the past year, through local funding and from grants from the Department of Transportation.
"Eighty percent of the funding is through a grant geared specifically toward 'greenways' or pedestrian transportation systems," Smith said.
The remaining 20 percent is covered through local funding, he said.
Although the city is the owner, the principal agency involved in the Riverbluff Walkway is the city's Division of Public Works.
"The concrete trail will be heavily landscaped and will feature a 4-foot concrete retaining wall and handrail along the portion of the walkway cut into the side of the bluffs," said John Conroy, deputy city engineer with the public works division.
In addition to the landscaped trail, the walkway also will feature an ornate painted steel and timber pedestrian bridge over Beale Street.
"It will be kind of a "gateway to Beale" and feature accent lighting and heavy timber decking, sort of like a boardwalk," Smith said.
Although there was some disagreement in the past over the walkway among the city, the Chickasaw Bluffs Conservancy and residents who live along the top of the bluffs, a compromise was reached, Smith said.
"A lot of people didn't realize that only a small portion, only 20 to 25 percent, of this phase would be adjacent to residential property. In this first phase, 75 percent of the walkway will be on public land on top of the bluff, near offices and restaurants.
"Regarding the 25 percent portion along the residential zones, a compromise evolved, and that was to locate the walk 8 to 10 feet below the top of the bluffs in front of the residences. The walkway will be notched or cut into the bluffs with the proper geologic and engineering methods," Smith said.
The city's intention is to get construction underway soon and complete this phase by the end of next year, he said. The city will open bids on Nov. 10.
Additional phases of the downtown section of the Riverbluff Walkway hiking and biking trail will stretch for 6 miles along the bluffs and through the Mud Island area, Smith said.
Eventually, the walkway will extend south to T. O. Fuller State Park and north to connect the three state parks along the Mississippi River, which include Shelby Forest State Park, Fort Pillow State Park and Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Ritchie Smith Associates, in collaboration with Burr & Cole, Consulting Engineers, prepared the design development and final construction documents.