La Crosse’s Bud Hendrickson Memorial Nature Trail and Pedestrian Bridge Project was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Small Cities/Rural Communities - Structures category. This award honors agencies representing cities and communities with a population of 75,000 or less that have included public structure preservation/rehabilitation, municipal buildings, and parks.

The Small Cities/Rural Cities Project of the Year Award was established to promote excellence in demonstrating creativity, ingenuity and efficiency in the delivery of public works projects that have a profound impact on the community. For 2016, the team of winners includes the City of La Crosse, WI, as the managing agency; Lunda Construction Co., as the primary contractor; and Mead & Hunt, as the primary consultant; who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX, Public Works Expo, annual conference taking place in Minneapolis, MN Ceremony during August 27-31, 2016.

Providing a key link between the City of Onalaska and downtown La Crosse, the Bud Hendrickson Memorial Pedestrian Bridge crosses the BNSF railyard between North Salem Road and Oak Street. It connects a mile of paved trail through the upper North Side neighborhood, allowing riders to get from Enterprise Avenue to Gillette Street. The project was paid for using state, federal and local funds, and construction of the 600-foot bridge began last fall, although planning for the project began nearly two decades ago. It was named for Bud Hendrickson, who started dumping leaves and grass clippings between abandoned rail beds behind his home sometime in the 1950s, which later became a trail system.

Lightweight concrete was used on the bridge deck to reduce the load on the bridge trusses, reducing the size of the truss members. Trusses and structural members are core 10 steel, and the bridge handrail is galvanized to reduce maintenance expenses. Anti-graffiti coating was used to make dealing with graffiti easier. The concrete was pumped through an existing stormwater culvert, located outside of the railyard and underneath the BNSF rail yard to a central work area inside the rail yard. A crane with concrete bucket positioned in the central work area then delivered concrete to the bridge site.

The BNSF rail yard passes through significant wetlands, as part of the La Crosse River marsh. To minimize the impact on the wetland during construction, a geotextile filter fabric was laid down over the wetlands area. Granular, engineered fill was placed over the fabric creating a level working surface and temporary staging area, distributing the construction loads and minimizing the settlement of the underlying wetlands. When the project was complete, the fill and fabric were removed and the wetlands vegetation recovered very well as a result of these measures. Additionally, 0.275 acres of wetlands impacted by the project were mitigated at the Mill Bluff wetland banking site including a 1.2:1 ratio resulting in 0.287 acres mitigated.

American Public Works Association (APWA)

The Bud Hendrickson Memorial Nature Trail and Pedestrian Bridge is a significant collaboration between the BNSF Railroad, Dairyland Power Cooperative, and the City of La Crosse. Dairyland Power owns significant land that borders the west side of the BNSF rail yard, and they recognized the benefits to the community that are gained by having a network of bike/pedestrian trails and encouraging alternative forms of transportation. They donated a strip of land to the city for the development of a trail.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.

For more information on the APWA 2016 Projects of the Year, or to register for a press pass for the APWA PWX conference, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum, at:, or by phone at: 202.218.6736.

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