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Author Topic: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing  (Read 1809 times)

Offline surfivor

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building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« on: January 16, 2017, 11:38:54 PM »

 I am buying this Rav4 vehicle. I have 11 acres at my camp and moving dirt in the back using a wheelbarrow is very limited as is hauling firewood logs from the back, although it is good exercise and I do that a bunch anyway. I may expand some of the trails through the woods so that I can drive the car back there, but at some point in the middle of the property is a tiny little stream that dries up in the summer or becomes more of a little mud spot. I am not sure if I could use some kind of large metal pieces or something to construct some kind of bridge over the muddy area or perhaps just make it so the car can't sink in at that spot. Any ideas on how to do something like this ? What about buying lots of small to medium sized rocks and keep depositing them there. As those rocks sink in the mud, then you bring in more rocks until eventually you have more of a spot that the car won't sink ?



Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2017, 11:48:17 PM »
Sounds like you need a small culvert covered with rock if it is more of a gradual depression.  If the stream has carved actual banks into the ground then a bridge might be better.  How wide is the soft ground?
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Offline surfivor

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 08:07:48 AM »
Sounds like you need a small culvert covered with rock if it is more of a gradual depression.  If the stream has carved actual banks into the ground then a bridge might be better.  How wide is the soft ground?

 The stream is maybe 6 feet wide in the wet time of the year but extremely shallow and fairly muddy. Some of the soft areas probably extend out further. I would probably only drive out there during dry summer months as I am picturing an unimproved road made by just cutting trees and removing stumps.

Offline Stwood

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2017, 11:20:14 AM »
Find 2-3 old metal (heavy) pipes about 10' long and lay them there (culverts) and then start filling with rocks as you come across field rocks.
Pipes don't have to be real big in size sounds like. Maybe 6" diameter or so.
Start laying in big rocks, then smaller rocks on top as the big ones pack down in.

Have you got someone nearby that drills wells? They may have something used.
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Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 12:25:42 PM »
I like the rocks idea and ST's pipes area also a good addition.  I would try and make a gravel bar at the entrance of the pipes to try and keep them from getting plugged up.

You may want to look into a small harbor freight trailer for moving stuff around on your property and hauling in small amounts of rocks. 
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Offline Cronezilla

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2017, 12:28:07 AM »
Looks like you have a bit of a project on your hands. Maybe your need an engineer? well I'm not an engineer by trade but act like one in the back yard. The issue with putting something in the creek is when it storms that water is going to be moving. I don't know what the banks look like but I guess their not that steep if you plan on using a vehicle to cross.  you might try gabions as a ramp than something sturdy' heavy duty lumber or maybe a steel sheet like they use to cover roadways to cross the span?
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Offline CF.Tree

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2017, 04:45:09 AM »
You might consider 2 logs (low rot wood like black locust) covered with planks, if there is enough space under it that it will not be swept away during high water.
Another way is if your ground freezes in winter use that season to get stuff done. If despite every thing else freezing that does not it may be a spring.

With a culvert if flow is not sufficient over time it may become filled with silt, a settling pool just before it enters can help. Depending on flow at high water if the culvert is to small it can get washed out.
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Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2017, 03:27:10 PM »
When you drive along forest service roads which have a lot of culverts you will notice that they have those settling pools at the top end, and seem overly large.  You need to build it for the worst flooding conditions or else it will be overwhelmed. That may mean larger diameter pipes then "usually" needed or if it is pretty flat terrain, extending the gravel approaches much further than apparently needed.

When I am doing a project like this I keep my eyes peeled as I drive around during the week to see if there is a similar condition and how that was solved by presumably engineers or smart farmers.  Someone in your area must have faced the same situation and solved it without paying $$$$ for a contractor to build it.
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Online Hurricane

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 04:27:09 PM »
You might be able to place concrete blocks as the foundation for a ford, rather than a bridge. Sometimes you can find blocks free on craigslist.
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Offline Bolomark

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Offline Carl

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2017, 05:33:03 AM »
  I would define the path by digging out a good trench and then use a culvert for minimal work and maintenance as un-directed surface water will wander and often forms bogs...show it who is boss.
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Offline greencountry

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2017, 11:42:37 PM »
Hello Surfivor,
  The way I'm reading you'r post it sounds like it's just a low spot on the property that the water moves to.

 If the banks of the creek and not cut ( strait up and down or very steep) then I wouldn't worry about a culvert pipe. I've got some land and done some of these shallow creek crossings. First put down some Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric. Then put rock on top of that. The fabric will keep the rock from disappearing down into the mud but still let water through it to drain. We use 3" rock form the quary but that is mostly to keep cattle from hanging out on it. I'm sure you can use any size rock but the bigger it is the harder it is for the water flow to wash it away.

One of you Grandparents farms has a creek crossing bridge that they made of just rocks. They had LOTS of rocks on there property that they would pick up, load into the back of an old Willys truck and take to the creek. Then unload to build the bridge. It's been there 30+ years and still works great.

If you do have steep banks than yes use some pipe or pipes as a culvert and then fabric and rock over the top of the pipes.

One more option for soft ground is to creat what they call Crane Mats in the construction trade. These are just long boards, sheets of plywood, logs, steel plates etc, etc. Just something layed out on the ground to drive on that spreads out the weight of the vehical to keep it from sinking in the mud.

By the way, to find Non-Woven Geotextile Fabric you can either Google it or contact you local NRCS office. The NRCS is how I found out about it and get it from one of there contacts.

Offline Cedar

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2017, 08:23:51 PM »
Look into 'cortouroy bridges', which they build up in the bush and across muskegy areS

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Offline CagedFeral

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2017, 04:47:50 AM »
Can you post a photo of the spot? I helped a co-worker build a bridge over a steep little creek but it was made for an atv and small tractor.
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Offline surfivor

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2017, 11:50:27 AM »
Can you post a photo of the spot? I helped a co-worker build a bridge over a steep little creek but it was made for an atv and small tractor.

Ok, well I may be up there next weekend but I am not sure how much snow there is and if it is completely covered in snow .. I was up there about 3 weeks ago out on snowshoes and the snow had to have been nearly 3 feet deep. It has rained and been warm lately but there may still be alot of snow

 The actual project itself may be a ways off. I just bought a Toyota Rav4 but the property does not have a road back to the stream though there are wide trails in some spots. I will have to cut alot of trees and figure out how to be able to drive back there before I get to building the bridge part but interesting ideas here .. thanks

 Actually, that weekend I may try to figure out where it might be possible to build the road .. although it will get a little easier on that part once the snow is gone
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 12:05:08 PM by surfivor »

Offline paymepunk

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 05:30:47 PM »
I just joined the forum and read your post. Jimmy DiResta on Youtube posted a nice video last November where he built a small bridge over a similar wet weather creek. If you are weary of links in forums like me, just search " Jimmy DiResta Bridge" on youtube. It will be the first or second video. He used some large timbers as the frame to span the creek. He's only driving over it with his off-road golf cart, so it may not work with a full sized vehicle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zixUbDQyc4g

Offline CPT Morgan

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 11:03:55 AM »
As others have suggested, I would consider a culvert and/or riff-raff to protect the banks of the stream to create a good base and prevent erosion.  I would also build a bridge that could be simply done by spanning three logs/timbers large enough to transfer the perceived weight of the vehicle, then cover that with 4x6 or 4x8 timbers in the opposite direction.

Offline Chris Gilliam

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Re: building a cheap tiny bridge or stream crossing
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2017, 03:10:46 PM »
Steel grating an option? Remove after use.