Building Boardwalks Over Wetlands

Building Boardwalks Over Wetlands

Don’t let a little water scare you

Environmentally conscious builders know that wetlands constitute some of the planet’s most sensitive areas. Anyone building there must either avoid damaging the ecosystem or pay the price down the road, but how do you do this safely and efficiently while avoiding the need for future foundation repair? Helical pilings make it possible.

Helical What?

The helical anchor foundation system consists of helical bearing plates welded to steel shafts, and their strength is legendary. Anything capable of supporting power lines, highway retaining walls and building foundations can easily do the same for an elevated boardwalk over the wetlands in Carmel, IN.

Benefits of Helical Pilings

Helical pilings constitute an eco-friendly means of supporting a structure in a marshy environment. Unlike rot-prone wood, their steel composition will stand up well to wet conditions, and they will never ooze damaging chemicals into the terrain. Perhaps most important of all, though, is the fact that with the help of the proper equipment, the driving of helical piles can take place quickly with little disturbance to sensitive soils.

Driving the Piles

To begin, the contractor must first carefully appraise the soil’s particular characteristics to determine the proper installation depth. Depending on resistance, this will range between 7 and 18 feet. With the aid of a mini-excavator, he will then install the helical pilings in a combination of vertical and angled configurations across the ground that is to receive the boardwalk. The slanted pilings will add stability.

Installing the Header Beams

When all of the helical piles are in place, workers will attach steel saddle brackets atop each piling before placing the header beams. Each of these beams will rest on a combination of vertical and angled pilings.

Boardwalk being built over wetland

Installing the Stringers and Boards

When placing the stringers on the header beams, metal joiners will add strength while crosswise bracing prevents rotation. A little care in this department will ensure a good foundation for the final step: installation of the boards.


Helical pilings are not always the perfect solution for several reasons. For the most part:

– They make a poor choice for rocky soils or areas where the bedrock is close to the surface.
– Their placement demands professional know-how.
– The use of special hydraulics and machinery is essential.
– Installation in swampland or standing water requires particular proficiency.

Don’t Try to Do This Yourself

Boardwalks are popular additions to any public wetland area, but their construction requires the ultimate in expertise as well as some assurance that no foundation repair will be necessary in the near future. Fortunately, Ram Jack of Indiana can help. As experts in the installation of helical pilings in and around Carmel, IN, we know how to do this right. Contact us today.