Since 1974, paddlers from across the globe have met at Wausau Whitewater Park, a third-mile long stretch of the Wisconsin River along downtown Wausau, Wis. Since its inception, volunteers and community donations converted this strip of water into a premier course for beginner to expert paddlers for many different competition styles. In 2016, the non-profit board that manages the course announced a master plan to help the course meet its reputation as the longest running and most actively used natural world class whitewater course in the world. The ten-year master plan calls for enhanced features on the course including a pedestrian foot bridge over the course, new pathways, and landscaping to improve safety access, judging areas, seating areas, and access ramps.
In 2017, new pathways and landscaping upgrades were completed on the east bank. This early stage was partly made possible with the donation of 99 cubic yards of ready-mix donated by County Materials Corporation. The decision to make upgrades was first addressed because of the park’s limited handicap access and need for emergency access. The park regularly hosts major competitions, so it was important to the board that more and more people could access the different viewing areas. Ready-mix from County Materials was an ideal construction material for this heavily trafficked area due to its strength and customization options.
Ready-mix pathways already on the site were still in excellent condition. The master plan took this into account by keeping them and having new pathways extend from them reflecting the same aesthetic. The new pathways were constructed with an integrally colored ready-mix, versus stained concrete the old paths had been constructed with. Integrally colored ready-mix complements the red hue found throughout the site, with the additional benefit of reduced installation time. County Materials’ integral coloring process takes place at the plant during the batching process. This results in less work for the contractor and reduced installation costs.
Nature provided the biggest challenge for this installation. The new path runs immediately along the river’s edge, which brought several complications. First, there were many natural rock outcroppings that either needed to be removed or worked around. The contractor utilized forms to work around the many irregular spaces. In some areas, ready-mix was poured right up against rock features. Another challenge was the river bank’s aggressive slope down to the water. After the challenging excavation process, the contractor laid a fabric liner to hold the base layer and help prevent washouts. Several pump trucks were deployed to the project to reach the pathways.
This early stage of the Wausau Whitewater Park upgrade was completed within less than a month thanks to County Materials’ integral coloring process and skilled delivery team.