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Cool Trail Solutions Index: a visual resource for trails and greenways
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Parley's Crossing Trail and Bridge, Salt Lake City, Utah

A new bridge helps trail users and cyclists over I-215 on the southeast side of Salt Lake. The project is the first phase of a major bicycle and pedestrian route from the foothills to the valley. Parley's Trail will run east to west and link the Bonneville Shoreline Trail high on the valley bench down to the Provo-Jordan River Parkway. The eight-mile trail route meets other tough technical challenges including developed neighborhoods, a golf course, steep draingages, a light rail corridor, and the intersection of I-80 and I-215. Parleys Rails, Trails, and Tunnels Coalition is the non-profit group promoting the trail, which is expected to cost $20 million. Federal transportation funds totalling $10.5 million have been committed, along with $2.6 million from Salt Lake County's "Zoo, Arts and Parks" tax fund.

Click on any photo to see it full size (photos by Stuart Macdonald):





















From Parleys Rails, Trails, and Tunnels Coalition:

About the Parley's Crossing Bridge

by Jim Deschenes, Michael Baker Jr., Inc.

The original concept for the last phase of Parley's Crossing was a tunnel under I-215. That originally appeared to be the cheapest and most direct option. Bridge alternatives were considered, but they focused on a single span, keeping it short as possible. That meant a number of ADA compliant ramps to get up and over. I think the concept of using the grades and a two-span bridge was just overlooked.

As a frequent user of these trails— and a bridge designer— I realized that a two-span bridge using the existing side hills could be a good solution. From a rider's perspective - riding through a box culvert is not much fun. A bridge would be a better from the user's perspective. Some quick field measurements using my handheld GPS verified it was possible, but the existing noisewalls were problematic. With the support of UDOT, FHWA and Lochner, we were able to overcome the noisewall issues.

A tunnel would have required multiple lane closures and shutdowns of I-215. The bridge was constructed with only minor shoulder closures and one 4-hour nighttime closure. The actual bridge and trail were slightly more expensive than the tunnel, but when you consider other factors such as minimal impact to I-15, additional safety and security for trail users, visibility of the trail, and overall trail user experience, the bridge is a much better solution.

There are a lot of civil projects that get constructed based solely on functionality and low cost. I see this project as a big win for everyone, FHWA, UDOT, SL County, PRATT and users of the trail system, and proof that you can achieve visual aesthetics, good user experience and safety for both trail users and drivers.

Jim Deschenes, Operations Manager
Michael Baker Jr., Inc.
6955 South Union Park Center , Suite 370, Midvale, UT 84047
(801) 255-4400 - Fax (801) 255-0404 -

Bridge Facts:

By Todd Perkins, Perkins Engineering

  • The bridge is a two-span steel truss bridge
  • Each span is 140 feet in length
  • One span is over I-215 the other span is over the Bonneville Shoreline Trail
  • The bridge deck is concrete with a trail width of 10 feet
  • 200 cubic yards of concrete and 25,000 pounds of reinforcing steel were used to construct the bridge supports, foundations, and deck
  • 94,000 pounds of structural steel was used to fabricate the steel truss bridge and ornamental fence
  • HW Lochner was the consultant engineer for the trail

Trail Facts:

  • 2200 feet of asphalt and concrete paved trail were constructed
  • The paved trail is 10-12 feet wide
  • 500 feet of noise wall was placed
  • 3000 feet of retaining wall was constructed

Todd Perkins, P. E., Perkins Engineering
2526 Starling Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 815-1491 - Fax (801) 944-5506 -

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