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Milwaukee Riverwalk

Milwaukee, WI

With nearly three miles of walkway along the Milwaukee River, the existing downtown Riverwalk is an amenity that serves as a highly used, year-round pedestrian thoroughfare. Constructed over the river on piling supported precast members over a period of several decades, the Riverwalk segments traverse a wide variety of grade differences and conditions. The City has made a concerted effort in the last few years to address ADA compliance and accessibility issues, which have traditionally limited access to certain portions of the Riverwalk.

The newest of the Riverwalk improvements being undertaken by Triad Construction, Inc. is the Wells street patio at the “Port of Call” restaurant. Triad is altering the existing pile supported plaza to create a ramped walkway from Wells Street down to the patio level and adding a pile supported “lift tower” over the river. The tower component at the north end of the plaza will accommodate a wheel chair lift system, enabling users to access a lower section of the west Riverwalk, currently accessible only by way of a series of stairs.

PACE Architects, assisted by Pierce Engineers, chose Precast Concrete panels for the design of the lift structure over a number of other materials because of it’s inherent durability, flexible assembly attributes and the ability to produce detailed components in a controlled environment, to achieve consistent results. Precast planks and decorative panels gives the team the ability to produce a “substantial” looking structure with thinner and lighter components, allowing for the ability to protect the traditional metal lift structure, from Wisconsin’s seasonal elements. Triad has just completed the first phase of walkway ramping and railing modifications to allow for summer use of the patio and walkways. Phase two construction of the main lift structure will commence this October, immediately after the end of the Riverwalk peak usage season.

PACE Project Architect, Kate Edwards stated “Rich and Kevin have been very attentive to detail and proactive in offering suggestions, helping the team to accommodate odd conditions here and there which arise on every project where new construction ties into existing conditions.” Together, the team looks forward to the successful fall completion of one more amenity that will enable more users to enjoy the long expanse of Milwaukee’s River walk system.