County OKs testing 'reject' sand on part of Zimmer path in RivertonAug 5, 2015 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
The non-profit organization Go Fremont County is moving forward with a plan to replace the asphalt Darcie Zimmer Memorial Recreation Path in Riverton with a packed sand path.
"It's much less expensive, and it's a lot easier to maintain, but the big thing is people like it," Go Fremont County's Craig Blumenshine told Fremont County commissioners at their July 21 meeting.
Blumenshine is also a sports writer for The Ranger.
The county board gave him the go-ahead to work with the Fremont County Transportation Department to develop a plan to rebuild part of the trail as a test project.
"What we're asking for is permission to try this to replace the Zimmer trail with 'reject' sand from North Eight (Street) West and Sunset (Drive) to North Eight (Street) West and Webbwood Road," Blumenshine said.
The section is about a quarter of the 3-mile trail, he said. It would serve as a pilot project to see if a reject-sand trail would work as a recreation path and to find what maintenance it would require.
"Something needs to be done, because the trial is a mess as it stands today," Blumenshine said.
A previous estimate from James Gores and Associates to repave the failing asphalt trail projected the effort would cost about $480,000, including $150,000 of pavement.
Blumenshine thinks rebuilding the trail with reject sand would cost much less. The material for rebuilding the entire Zimmer trail would cost only $1,200, he said, though additional costs would come from tearing out and possibly milling the old pavement and installing the sand.
Reject sand is sand with other materials, such as dust, that can fill up spaces between the rock and bind the sand together, said Dave Pendleton, Fremont County Transportation Department superintendent.
"All the void spaces are filled with that, so it sets up hard, kind of like a good gravel road would," he said. "If you don't have enough of the binder in there, of course you're going to have a loose sand, like what you have with playground sand."
Compacted reject sand makes a versatile recreation path, Blumenshine said.
"What it's not great for is a biker at high speed who wants to make a sharp turn," he said. "As far as bike use, stroller use, runner use, walker use -- the trail meets all those attributes in spades."
Maintenance is easier and cheaper than asphalt, Blumenshine said. In a report, he wrote that the material drains well, and if it does wash out, the damage can be fixed easily and quickly with more sand. Weeds do not grow on the reject sand trails either, he said.
Blumenshine learned about reject-sand paths from the City of Buffalo, he said. There, the city public works department has been installing and maintaining reject-sand trails for years.
"The city (of Buffalo) is in the process of converting all asphalt trails to sand trails because of public satisfaction with sand trails compared to asphalt trails," Blumenshine wrote.