HomeProjectsChesapeake & Ohio Canal Rock Slopes, National Historic Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Rock Slopes, National Historic Park

Paw Paw, MD

Project At-a-Glance

  • Rock fall and rockslope stability posed hazards to vistors of the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath .
  • Design-Build project delivery with specialty rock slope contractor
  • Assess,design and construct stability measures including ropes access work,  manual rock removal, controlled blasting and various mechanical rock stabilization means like Geobrugg SpiderTM mesh.
  • Full-time, onsite supervision during rock slope remediation
Paw Paw Tunnel at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

The 184.5-mile Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath is considered the backbone of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network. The towpath is part an off-road recreational trail stretching 335 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

Steep rock slopes flank both sides of the towpath and have undergone prior scaling and stabilization work. Due to rockfall events and concern for public safety about 1000-ft of the towpath downstream of the historical PawPaw Tunnel was closed in November 2020 by the National Park Service.

Brierley Associates teamed with DrillTech Drilling and Shoring and Apex Rockfall to develop a rapid Design-Build rock slope stabilization and remediation program for this historic and difficult to access site. Stabilization measures include rope access and equipment scaling, controlled blasting rock removal, Geobrugg SpiderTM mesh, pattern and spot rock anchors anchors, and shotcrete buttresses. Brierley completed site mapping of the project slopes and developed detailed design for the rock slope remediation, including plans and profile drawings, and Division I specifications for review by the National Park Service and the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Additionally, Brierley developed design to replace the pedestrian boardwalk.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal rock exposure