Need suggestions about building a small bridge

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by rr, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. rr

    rr Active Member

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    Howdy from one who generally lurks and learns. Still hoping to learn.
    I have to be able to get a tractor with loader and backhoe -- 3,500 pounds loaded -- across a tiny creek regularly. By tiny I mean a few feet to six feet wide and shallow. The primary crossing is moderately steep on both sides and narrow, heavily covered with the stones the original farmer dumped there from his cornfields.
    I probably need to span a minimum of 8 feet, with 10 or 12 being better. Minimum travel width would be 4 feet at the tires with the backhoe stabilizers adding a foot or so about four feet off the surface when they're retracted.
    I don't know how to weld and the only thing I'm skilled at doing with wood is burning it. My talent with concrete is mainly getting it all over myself.
    Well, I guess I could spike pieces of wood together, or tighten bolts, or have concrete poured.
    The site is easily accessible to get material in.
    Cost is a big factor, but safety and durability are too.
    I'd be happy to adapt something like a shipping trailer frame if that would make sense and I could fine it. Or, I have some recently downed small hardwoods of 8 inches diameter up to 16 or so, but I can't see much straight wood in them.
    Of course I can buy lumber, just not a lot of expensive stuff.
    In other words, boy, do I need some helpful suggestions.
    I'm in eastern Pennsylvania if that matters.
    Thanks much for any help.
    Bob Raikes
     
  2. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some people say that a rock enforced ford is much better than a bridge, maintenance and cost wise.

    anyway, i like metal for bridges, tractor/trailor frames would be ideal, but cost...i use mobile/double wide frames and tongues for little bridges up to 22 feet around the farm, but thats just for a loaded gator. i purchased a truck scale once (thought i could convert it to weigh cattle, turned out way too big) anyway the frame for the scale made a great heavy bridge. metal can be bolted if not welded. just let someone run the numbers to investigate the load carring ability of the metal.
     

  3. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    I was just looking at a place this weekend that was recently logged. The skidders had to cross a couple deep, wide gullies that had water running through them. They laid logs longways across the gully (the gully is about 8' deep and maybe 15' wide) for the first layer, then a layer of logs in another direction, and a top layer of logs running in the same direction as the bottom layer. Then they covered all the logs with about 18 inches of dirt. I'd say there is 2-3 feet under the bottom layer of logs for the water to pass under the crossing. I realize this will require a little maintenance from time to time, but it sure is heavy duty and cheap to build.
     
  4. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Is a culvert or two side by side culverts an option?
     
  6. just_sawing

    just_sawing Haney Family Sawmill

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    You Query implieda budget. I cut timbers for farmers here in TN and this is the general size.
    4X6 oak times 4 laid on a Header made of concrete or oak.
    On top of that 3x6 cross members and 1x6 laid long ways.
    The botton oak soak in burnt motor oil. They should last twenty years
     
  7. rr

    rr Active Member

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    Some intriguing possibilities here.
    A neighbor is related to the biggest manufactured housing dealer around. Maybe he could point me to a frame.
    I'm not sure what a rock-enforced ford would be, Ace Admirer, but I have an idea I'm not too far from having that with all the stone around. Can you give me a little more detail?
    boonieman's discovery looks great, but probably overkill for me. And I really wonder how the structure would survive the carpenter ants here.
    Ross, culverts might be the best idea. Concrete or steel? Don't they require pretty solid fill around them giving support in all directions? I'll have to learn more, but I sure know more than I did yesterday.
    Thanks to all.
     
  8. brian mcf

    brian mcf Well-Known Member

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    hey, r-r i built a bridge in tionesta p.a. 2yrs ago.spanning 32 ft.a creek.we bought telephone poles ,from are electric company.these poles are pressure treated,bug repellant,and strong.i bought 4 -34 ft.and lined them were the tires would travel across the bridge the top was 2 by 10 by 10 ft.these were also telephone poles we had a lumber mill cut them for us.under neath the bridge in the center of the creek i have two pipe stands with a support running opposite way.we drove a dump truck over it with 90 sheets of plywood on the truck. these poles are southern yellow pine.the cost was 750 dollars.this bridge is a must,its on our driveway,to our camps.one camp behind us has to cross it too.o-yeah don't let me forget to tell you guys the camp be hind us never gave us a dime or a hand.they have to cross this to get to there camp.maybe i should charge a toll,good luck brian
     
  9. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    3600 lbs is a very small backhoe right??

    mikell
     
  10. Richard6br

    Richard6br Well-Known Member

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    Do you really need to build a bridge at all. Would it be possible just to ramp both sides and drive through the creek ??
     
  11. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ford, the thing the settlers did with the covered wagons on all the old movies,,,,except they usually chose poorly and the wagon goes down stream.

    find the straightest, widest, shallowest part of the stream, push the banks to a gentile slope, then cover both the slope and stream with large rock then inter fill with smaller rock. then slowly drive through the shallow water,,,

    anyway what ever you do realise that because of what we have done to our land that 100 year floods will probably be seen about every 20 to 40 years in most places. know what your stream is going to do during heavy rains...or all your work may be washed away.

    if you use coverts, build soil up high over them so that flood washing will occur a distance away from the pipe. easier to repair a washed out road than to have to dig out and reposition washed coverts.

    if heavy flooding a wide high bridge may be the better answer over coverts.
     
  12. rr

    rr Active Member

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    Utility poles might be worth buying. Have to check into that.
    The machine is a 24-horsepower compact tractor with loader and backhoe, small but adequate for my needs. Being used to an Onan-engined Gravely with a 500-pound belly deck, I consider it very unstable, and since I'm really clumsy, I'm leery of anything that isn't really firm.
    I could grade the approaches and drive through it but the authorities can get pretty unpleasant about driving through a creek (crazy, but true), and it would have washout problems.
    Part of the problem is that the tractor has a fairly shallow angle of approach with the 'hoe on and a subframe that hangs pretty low.
    I've gotten some good ideas. Have to check availability of framework, culvert pipe and utility poles and I might be ready.
    But don't let that discourage more suggestions.
    Thanks all
    rr
     
  13. brian mcf

    brian mcf Well-Known Member

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    hey r r when we built the bridge i was telling you about,the guy i bought the poles from delivered them that was included in that 750 price.the guy has a good side bussiness going.he works for the utility company,and on the side he has this lumber mill bus.he gets all the poles that get hit or replaced.then he cuts them up.some of them poles are cedar.he cuts them up for people,they use the stuff for cedar decks,stockkade fencing,or pasture fencing,heck even some people have him cut the cedar for siding for cabins.any ways we had the same problem up at the camp,authorties see a little dirt down stream and there up looking for the cause.army core engineers. we live in n.e.ohio if you want the guys number. brian p.s.the guy delivered 2and half hours one way and back home 250 dllars total 6hrs not bad.
     
  14. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    rr- For a bridge an old truck flatbed can work. They are complete with metal frame and floor decking, most would support your machine, are 8 ft. wide. These can be found from 12 or 14 ft used on 1 to 1 1/2 ton trucks up to 48 ft length used with semi-tractors. Usually low cost, you just have to inspect decking for structural soundness. Best thing about 'em, once you drag or shove them into place, bridge is built, you're done.
     
  15. rr

    rr Active Member

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    Well, I didn't want to come right out and say it, but "Drag 'em into place, bridge is built, you're done" definitely sounds like my kind of project.
     
  16. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    I used 2 oil tanks bolted together on the ends. !0 ft long with a 4 foot diameter. When you cut the ends out,leave 4 inches on the edge. that edge is used to bolt them together. It also adds strength to the culvert. Then I took a loader and cover them with 2 feet of dirt. Makes a drive 20 foot wide.