Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Schuylkill River Boardwalk: By the Numbers

The Schuylkill River Boardwalk opened on Thursday, stretching north from the South Street Bridge to Locust Street. The impressive, nearly two-fifths-mile long walkway is the latest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail, part of the region's rapidly growing trail network. Below is a look at the $18M "floating multi-use trail" by the numbers:

--5 inches: The depth of river water covering the new walkway at each high tide--a design element intended to "help clean the decking daily."

--1,794 ft: The height--due to gentle turns--of the 2,000 ft-long boardwalk if stood on its end vertically.

--8: The number of construction workers experiencing sharp abdominal pain after surfacing from spending hours deep below the river waterline in the foundation caissons. The inexplicable agony would later be named caissons disease, or, the bends. The project manager, who also experienced severe discomfort, oversaw much of the construction from a top-floor apartment in Locust on the Park, which overlooks the boardwalk site.

--27,349,112: The number of scores over the length of the concrete surface...made using the end of a half-inch diameter oak tree branch found along the banks of the river.

--9 minutes: Time required for the trail solar-powered drawbridge to fully open giving boaters access to the portion of the river cut off by the boardwalk. Watercraft up to fifteen feet wide can pass through the opening.

--17: Hardhats washed away during a major May 2014 flood.

--16: Hardhats washed ashore Cape May, NJ, beaches.

--1: Hardhat washed ashore Stone Harbor, NJ beach.

--857 ft: The length of the moving sidewalk portion of the boardwalk. Recycled from PHL International Airport, the moving sidewalk--which will change direction every ten minutes--catapults runners, walkers, and cyclists past those on the adjacent static concrete.

--11 inches: Maximum depth of ice covering the tidal Schuylkill River during the harsh 2014 winter. The ice acted as a staging area, supporting cranes, cement trucks, and concrete construction supplies through early April.

--0 seconds: Time required to water the flora in each of the stainless steel hanging planters mounted on the non-trail side of the galvanized metal railings.

--45 degrees: Thirteen degrees above freezing. Also, the slope of the South Street Bridge access ramp.

--450,000 psi: Pressure each overlook bench is designed to withstand.

--2: number of CSX-controlled access gates at opposite ends of the boardwalk. The gates will automatically close "whenever a train is within fifty miles" or "whenever CSX feels like it."

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