Gresham Smith completes Valleydale trail

Published 12:23 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

HOOVER – A project that was first planned roughly 13 years ago has finally been completed.

Gresham Smith announced in a press release that construction is finished on a 1.7-mile greenway trail along the Inverness Parkway. This includes a mix of concrete and asphalt paths as well as a pedestrian bridge and upgrades to the public sewer infrastructure located beneath the trail.

“Shelby County and the city of Hoover actually commissioned our firm probably about 12 or 13 years ago to do a greenway feasibility study for the entire Inverness community, “said Blair Perry State Leader of the Alabama transportation market. “Out of that study, one of the projects was this Inverness Greenway trail along Inverness Parkway, and so the county and city went in together and secured federal transportation funding through the Metropolitan Planning Organization to actually fund the project that’s on the ground today.”

The trail construction took place from January 2021 through April 2022.

“As the contractor completed sections of that, people immediately started using it,” Perry said. “They would walk along the sidewalk down to the construction activity and turn around and walk back. So even as it was under construction people were already starting to use it.”

Approximately 1.1. miles of the trail are comprised of an 8 to 10-foot-wide concrete path that runs along inverness Parkway, while the other 0.6 miles feature a 10-12-foot-wide asphalt path that runs along existing sanitary sewer easement through the woods of Hoover’s Nature Park. This section also features a 270- foot-long timber treetop pedestrian bridge.

The sewer infrastructure took approximately four months to complete. Gresham Smith designed a new 2,700 foot-long, 10-inch force main which increased the public sewer capacity to 1,200 gallons per a day.

“You want to continually renew your asset and make sure they’re usable and not deteriorating or they’re failing,” Project Executive Hal Humphrey said. “(It) had to make sense while we’re collaborating on transportation in Shelby County, and Hoover is collaborating for us to do a one-pass concept. To go ahead and upgrade and make sure the sewers (are) ready for any future development.”

Due to the use of a trenchless construction process, the firm was able to leave the existing sewer line active throughout the project and then transfer the flow once the construction on the new line was completed.

“This was really a collaborative effort between Shelby County and the city of Hoover from the get go,” Perry said. “Even to the point of taking two, what could be separate projects, and realizing the need to get them done at the same time and in the proper sequence. So that we didn’t build a nice trail and dig up parts of it afterwards to do sewer repairs.”

County Manager Chad Scroggins shared his thoughts on the completion of the construction.

“I think that it was worth the long, long trials to get that through,” he said. “Gresham Smith did a great job designing it. It was obviously a partnership between us and the city, so we’re excited that it’s open. It seems to be well-received.”

Perry explained the main purpose behind the construction of the trail.

“It was really to promote bicycling and walking,” he said. “It really was dual purpose. It was recreational because there’s a lot of recreational users that walk that trail for exercise, but it was also just to provide an alternate mode of transportation to get to the different neighborhoods along that corridor.”

Perry also shared plans for a future development in the area.

“Shelby County and Hoover are working on a project to expand and widen Valleydale Road,” Perry said. “That project, in the future, will also have a sidewalk along it. So, when that project is complete you could literally walk all the way from the Hoover Nature Park on Inverness Parkway near Highway 280 all the way to Spain Park Highschool, Hoover Veterans Park and even points beyond. So, it’s part of a bigger multimodal system of transportation.”

Humphrey shared his thoughts on the completed project.

“I would say I’m proud of what we’ve done,” he said. “We’ve upgraded their underground infrastructure. We left them with a walkable community-feeling pedestrian trail, and also what we’re proud of is the collaborative nature of this project, not only between the city of Hoover and Shelby County, but also with our water environment market and our transportation market here in Gresham. I think the reason we did the press release, and the reason I think we’re talking about this is, this is just the spirit of collaboration, and we’re proud of that.

Those who wish to learn more about Gresham Smith can visit its website at Greshamsmith.com