Concrete Trails

Recreational trails have been growing ever more popular over the past three decades, which has created the need for comprehensive guidance at a national level for constructing concrete trails.

For biking or walking, concrete is a "solid" solution

The National Concrete Pavement Technology (CP Tech) Center has recently released just such a guide to aid the ready-mixed concrete industry, contractors, design professionals, decision-makers, practitioners, and public agencies. The Guide to Concrete Trails is available here.

The guide focuses on the steps for concrete trail development, design parameters and options, important elements of construction from subgrade preparation to delivery, use of various and sometimes innovative construction equipment, and on maintenance and repair. It also offers case studies on concrete trails of all ages from projects located throughout the country.

The guide is useful for construction of all types of paved recreational trails, including those for biking, running, and walking, as well as for other pathways such as cart paths on golf courses. Use of the guide will aid in the design, construction, and maintenance of concrete trails and paths that will help to improve the transportation and recreation opportunities of the general public.

Trail development surged in the 1990s due to federal and state funding for alternative transportation and the development of rail trails. However, the funding is highly competitive, and new construction to expand the trail system is often favored over maintenance of old trails.

A properly designed and constructed concrete trail can be a sustainable amenity for the community over the long term. Communities that have robust trail networks attract residents and tourists as well as further economic development.

The Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation sponsored the development of the guide.