Point Pelee National Park Floating Boardwalk
The marsh boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park is a ±1 km long loop which spans across open ponds and among cattails. The boardwalk winds through the wetlands and offers a chance to see the red-winged blackbirds, turtles, ducks and herons.
Riggs Engineering was engaged by Huron District Contracting Limited to design a replacement floating boardwalk. The contract involved replacement of a ±560 m section of floating boardwalk along the marsh boardwalk loop trail, as well as a ±55 m long fixed dock and two canoe/kayak docks.
The floating boardwalk and docks were designed with double aluminum pipes filled with foam (which provides additional buoyancy). The frame attached to the aluminum pipes was also designed using aluminum sections. The deck and railing were finished with untreated white cedar. The hinge connections between float sections were made with rubber bushings, thus minimizing noise as visitors walk along the boardwalk. This connection transferred shear and enhances the overall stability of the floats.
Extensive finite element analysis was carried out during the design process of the floating boardwalk. The model was analyzed with all load combinations, including wind load, on the entire system.