- McKelvey Woods Trail
The McKelvey Woods Trail, now known as Fee Fee Greenway, Phase 2 project was commissioned by the City of Maryland Heights, Missouri, in partnership with the Great Rivers Greenway District and Saint Louis County Parks Department in St. Louis County. The project fulfilled the goal to connect the city’s new Community Center to Creve Coeur Park.
Our team completed the planning for the project, which had a deadline of September 2012 for completion of the construction documents and environmental clearances. This deadline was necessary to comply with the trail’s funding requirements, which included federal funding. These requirements caused the planning phase of the project to be condensed to three months.
The city’s major concerns were schedule, development within the floodplain and stakeholder engagement. Four alignment options had been identified, but after discussions with the city’s staff, the team eliminated two of the options due to conflicts with the Union Pacific Railroad. With two alignments chosen for in-depth consideration, the team developed a decision matrix comprised of stakeholder preferences, property impacts, construction cost, hydraulic impacts and environmental impacts. Safety, connectivity and user experience were also important considerations.
These goals were achieved largely by keeping the trail off-street. The planning effort involved sectioning the routes for more detailed analysis, data collection, digital terrain modeling to consider areas of steep terrain, property ownership analysis, stakeholder meetings and conceptual geometric design of the trail to generate reliable cost estimates.
Permits were obtained from federal, state and local agencies in association with wetlands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Individual 404 permit, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) section 106, compensational flood plain storage, creek stabilization and parks (4(f) permit), Farmland Permitting and Metropolitan Saint Louis Sewer District stormwater and Best Management Practices permitting. The permitting was dovetailed into the design by the permitting requirements and the grading plan. The wetlands were mitigated off site using wetland credit purchases.
The project began with alignment studies and concluded with construction that was environmentally pleasing to key stakeholders. The project was a partnership between Great Rivers Greenway, City of Maryland Heights, Fred Weber, Crystal Springs Quarry Golf Course and Saint Louis Parks Department. Construction was completed on schedule and on budget, and it included the relocation of private electrical and water utilities, which required extensive coordination and planning before and during construction.
Work included structural engineering for a single-span, 78-foot-long, prefabricated steel truss structure with concrete pile cap end bents. The project also included a double-box culvert bridge and more than 10 retaining walls. The project also entailed geotechnical stabilization of slopes for global stability during earthquake-induced liquefaction.
The bridge approaches were designed with green infrastructure. The retaining walls used to stabilize the bridge site along Fee Fee Creek featured mechanically stabilized earth construction, with a top layer of earthen materials. This design approach resulted in infrastructure that can withstand flash flooding of the creek and creates a native habitat for wildlife in and around of the creek.
Phase 2 was completed on time and on budget. The project provides one of Great Rivers Greenway’s best trail experiences. The City of Maryland Heights neighborhoods have access to Saint Louis County’s most popular parks with minimal street crossings, and wildlife, including deer, turkeys, crayfish, turtles and birds, thrive throughout the area.
The project's sustainability components include using locally available materials to remain cost-competitive during bidding and construction. For example, recycled concrete was used as fill material to provide a foundation for the trail on soft soils and to stabilize steep slopes while replacing costly retaining walls.
The long-term challenge for this project was obtaining an easement to use the right-of-way. One parcel is used by a construction company, the state of Missouri, a nearby landfill and a golf course. The project obtained easement approval from all four entities, enabling a connection to Creve Coeur Park. This process took more than five years to complete, delaying the start of construction.
- Route identification
- Alignment studies
- Environmental study
- Feasibility study
- Alternatives analysis
- Cost estimating
- Wetland permitting
- Hydraulic study