On a cool, calm winter morning last week, workers were putting the finishing touches on the reinforcing steel (rebar) and formwork at the Stateline Auxiliary Ramp in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in anticipation of the arrival of the concrete, or “mud” as it’s called in the construction industry.
Brown Brothers Construction Company from Loa, Utah, was the prime contractor, and Dale Cox Contracting of Manti, Utah, is the concrete subcontractor for the job. The work was being done as a design/build contract where the prime contractor is responsible for not only preparing the construction drawings but also for building the ramp.
A concrete batch plant in a nearby parking lot at Stateline provided a steady flow of concrete trucks to complete the concrete placement in one day.
The Stateline Auxiliary Ramp was “discovered” months ago when the Glen Canyon NRA engineer and facility management staff were surveying for a new boat launch ramp.
It seemed odd to the engineer for the natural ground underwater to have a steady downward grade, so he investigated. It turned out that an old ramp existed from the 1960s when the lake was filling. It is now being improved to serve visitors in the future. The “old” Stateline Ramp now ends at the edge of a cliff that forms one side of Wahweap Canyon.
Last Thursday, a red crane towered above the rebar and forms as the concrete was pumped from above the ramp to the ramp itself. Outside the construction zone, a large houseboat was being pulled out of the water without any issues. Other boats were taking turns launching as well.
According to Ellis Brown of Brown Brothers, materials have been exceptionally high during the past year. The original design called for welded wire mesh, but it would take longer for the mesh to arrive on site than simply using rebar and is a bit tricky to make sure it is centered in the slab.
Standing in the rebar grid, Dale Cox adeptly maneuvered the overhead pipe as it delivered concrete to the bottom of the ramp extension, working uphill. By the end of the day on Thursday, 100 cubic yards had become the latest extension of the Stateline Auxiliary Ramp.
Brown said that the plan, after this first placement to extend the ramp is complete, is to widen the ramp to full width, matching the length already in place. Once the ramp is extended, work will continue to follow the water and build more ramp as the receding lake reveals more land. The new section of ramp will have a slope of around 8.5%, a little less steep than a typical slope of 10%, and still acceptable for boat launching.
Until new ramp is built, sheets of boiler plate will serve as a temporary ramp. According to Brown, the design is based in part on state of Utah plans for the ferry ramps at Bullfrog and Halls Crossing and also from previous ramp extensions at Stateline and elsewhere at Glen Canyon NRA.