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Rehabilitation of the Evangola State Park Terrace Retaining Wall

Monday, October 27, 2014

The focal point of Evangola State Park is the massive, beach-side retaining wall. Painted white with large, red letters spelling-out the words “EVANGOLA STATE PARK”, it is known to beach-goers and boaters alike.  It has served as a point of reference to boaters since the 1950’s and is viewed by thousands of park visitors every year.  It has instant recognition to many western New Yorkers and has a powerful presence all its own.

Evangola State Park has a beautiful arc-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach on Lake Erie complimented by the retaining wall/overlook terrace at its center.  The low cliffs of Angola shale line the edge of the beach.  The park offers swimming, picnic facilities, baseball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, campsites and a nature center in the campground area.

It also has a three acre wetland along the entrance parkway that was created in 2010.  The wetland was part of a project to mitigate the environmental impacts of work conducted along the NYS Thruway.  This new habitat feature is home to various amphibian, reptile, and fish species, as well as a nesting and foraging site for a variety of birds and ducks.  Because of the success of the project, its excellent design, and its use as an outdoor classroom, the marsh won the ACEC Engineering Excellence Award in March 2013, the first landscape project to ever win this prestigious award.  (This is also a Watts’ designed project that we are very proud of.)

The overlook terrace retaining wall was constructed approximately 60 years ago and had experienced extensive surface deterioration.  Concrete spalling, cracking and efflorescent staining had occurred at several locations along the walls front and top surfaces.  The railing mounting areas were also deteriorated and in need of replacement.

In the terrace area contained by the wall, there were drainage structures, sidewalks and benches that were in poor condition and needed to be replaced.

We prepared final plans, specifications, and cost estimates for the rehabilitation of the terrace retaining wall structure for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Our design services involved the oversight of the survey, mapping and subsurface investigation; development and evaluation of various design alternatives; preparation of the Design Approval Document and environmental studies.

At one point in the early stages of design, there was talk of removing the existing structure and replacing it completely but our site inspection and investigation revealed that the wall was structurally sound and stable and that the deterioration was mostly contained near the surface, so rehabilitation was chosen.

Unique design elements included localized concrete removal and replacement, cast-in-place concrete repairs, concrete wall encasement and use of an architectural form-liner and coloring to match the adjacent shall banks.  A light cable railing system was chosen to provide an unobstructed view of the lake.

This restored wall is no longer an eyesore but a source of pride for the park …and one humble engineer.