Split Swing Gates Installation (Parkwide)
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park will install a new style access gate throughout the park. Gates will be constructed of round metal pipe with an opening in the center for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Style of gates will be very similar to the access gates used on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, Washington County, Maryland. The new gates will be replacing existing swing gates, which are located along the towpath at roadway intersections and at emergency/maintenance access points. The new gates will have a center opening that will enable park visitors to safely pass through the gate by staying to the center of the towpath or roadway. Currently, park visitors need to pass around the swing gates where terrain may be narrow and/or sloping. The center pass-through gates will be safer, offering a wider, level surface. The center opening will be narrow enough to prohibit motorized vehicle access.
The new gates will be painted National Park Service brown. Reflective safety tape will be applied to the gate. Stop signs will be installed to alert park visitors of intersections with roadways. As new gates are funded for fabrication, the first replacements will be made along the towpath. Upon completion of these replacements, the new style gates will replace swing gates at emergency access points. It is anticipated that the installation of the new style gates will be a multi-year project, as funding is available.
It is anticipated that the new gates will be installed within the limits of disturbance (LOD) of the existing swing gates. The LOD is a two foot radius from an existing gate post. Any gate that falls outside of the previous LOD will require separate compliance to evaluate impacts to both natural and cultural resources.
In order to install the gates, the following criteria must be met:
1. All gates will be produced to specifications as determined by the park civil engineer.
2. Gates will be painted NPS brown, with reflective safety tape installed.
3. Gates will be constructed to match the current distance between swing gate posts. Center opening will be at least five (5) feet, NTE seven (7) feet.
4. New gates posts will be installed within two feet of existing gate posts. Any distance greater than two feet in any direction will need separate project clearances through National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
5. Gate exchange will be made during the same work day. Plans must be developed to ensure this is accomplished.
6. Pedestrian pathways that have developed as a result of bypassing the swing gates will be attended with appropriate turf management practices using park approved grass mix, etc.
7. For gate locations within the park that need to accommodate larger equipment, such as agricultural equipment, wider gate panels will be fabricated to allow the wider access. Center opening of wider gates will retain the standard center opening specifications.
The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.18 – Installation of fencing enclosures, exclosures, or boundary fencing posing no effect on wildlife migrations.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Exclusions #IV.B 8 – placement, maintenance, or replacement of utility lines, transmission lines, and fences within previously disturbed areas.
For further information about this project, please contact Chief of Maintenance, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.