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Author Topic: Bridge over ditch  (Read 1370 times)

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Offline Mainecoast

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Bridge over ditch
« on: October 14, 2021, 08:03:10 PM »
So...without anyone geeking out on modulus of elasticity. 

Iím looking to build a wooden bridge over a small ditch. A tractor could drive through it if needed so itís not some ravine/glacier washout. You know a 3 foot dip to channel water. Looking to span around 12/13 feet to just provide a smooth transition for tractors and stuff like.

Iím thinking it should be around 7 1/2 feet wide to give some wiggle room for the tractor. 

So 7 1/2 feet wide and 13í long.

Toss out some ideas hopefully youíve tried your self. 

I have a saw mill and am thinking about getting hemlock or tamarack logs, saw two edges and peel the bark. Lay a 6x6 width wise and set it in the ground on a bed of rocks. Lay 5 of these 10Ē diameter trees across the ditch. Two in the left and right approximately where the tires go. One down the center. Then saw or buy 2 or 2 1/2 thick material for the decking. Random width or a standard width. And peg these down with wooden pegs cut off with an adze. 3/4 white oak square pegs. 

Thoughts and opinions? 

Online Southside

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2021, 08:14:44 PM »
How big of a tractor?  Maybe put some tire guides running length wise like on a woods bridge to keep your tires from slipping sideways when the wood is wet?  
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2021, 08:28:34 PM »
I'd add 2x material lengthwise where the tires go to tie it all together.  Sort of a wear lane that you can replace. Take a look at what @Magicman  has done.
John Sawicky

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2021, 08:48:54 PM »
Look at the crane mats and how they are made. Maybe some ideas will catch for material, size, and construction.  One such video of how a mill does it (sort through the first part for the "how to").


Or just drag in a crane mat if can find one new or slightly used. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2021, 08:55:47 PM »
Use the "Search" above on the left and enter; bridge.  And then by user enter* enter; magicman.  That will take you to several topics where I built and rebuilt bridges on my property.

I have 3 bridges on my property and it is very seldom when all three are cross-able.  At the present time this one LINK has washed out again and the smallest bridge needs rebuilding.....again and the other has a broken board, so all three need work.  :-X
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Offline Mainecoast

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 08:56:55 PM »
Good thinking in the tires bumpers! Maybe 4x material chamfered.

The tractor would be around 45hp John Deer. 

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2021, 09:16:03 PM »
Hit John's Bridge crossing the Allagash between Big and Little Eagle Lake a few times just a bit fast, was always glad those guides were there.  ;D
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2021, 02:12:56 PM »
I'd make it a little bit wider in case you ever need to drive a truck across it.  Maybe 8'6" overall width.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2021, 04:50:55 PM »
I started with all 10' bridges and now they are all 12'.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2021, 05:01:05 PM »
I started with all 10' bridges and now they are all 12'.
Wide or long?  If 12' wide, that is pretty comfortable!
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline thriceor

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2021, 08:51:18 PM »
My dad and I built a bridge about 15 years ago.  It spans about 20 feet and is 10 feet wide.  We used  three old utility poles for the beams (fairly good diameter, but not huge).  I decked it with two layers of treated 2x10 horizontally, then two treated 2x10's next to each other, lengthwise, in line with tire spacing for our tractor.  The beams sit on piers/girders of old poles.  It has held up well, the longitudinal 2x is just starting to show it's age.  It will handle approximately 5000 lbs. with minimal deflection.  I, too, recommend bumper boards on the sides- it's kinda exciting when you start to go sideways on a narrow bridge due to frost etc.  Sorry, no pics of it.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2021, 09:59:26 PM »
If 12' wide, that is pretty comfortable!
Yes, 12' wide. 
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Online Al_Smith

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2021, 12:47:20 PM »
I didn't build a bridge but I did use an underground diesel fuel  tank for a culvert .It was around 5 feet in diameter and approx. 20 feet long covered with blue clay .About 18" of dirt over the top and rip rapped from the remains of a concrete garage floor and rail road ballast stone .It worked just fine .
Every so often though if we got a frog drowner it would back up the water but it never washed out .

Offline gspren

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2021, 09:34:50 PM »
Like AL no bridge but 2 culvert pipes. On the extra small creek through my one pasture I have a 24" pipe and on the bigger stream coming out of the woods I have a 48" tube. 36" would have been ideal but I got the 48" used and cheap, just had to dig a bit to get it in. When you can use them culvert pipes are way stronger and longer lasting then bridges.
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Offline woodroe

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2021, 04:08:45 AM »
My tractor woods bridge span had to be longer at 24' but similar idea to yours
using whats handy for girders and discounted bargain bin treated lumber for decking.
Started with two 17" at the butt Pine trees 14" small end, cut and peeled them in the spring.
These trees were within 100' of the site.
Both trees had identical sweeps in them so placed them crowns up for a arch effect and added strength.
Placed them on some flat rocks that were handy and set them 6' apart.
Layed a strip of rolled roofing across the tops of the logs then placed the 2 x 6 x 8' deck boards on, finished with 2x6x 12' length of span 4 wide each side for tires to run on. 
Figured the rolled roofing would help prevent wood on wood contact rot.
There is an inch or two space between the deck planks but thats what I had to work with from the pallet of 2nds i
found at hammond lumber.
Finished up with some peeled pine log bumpers about 8" dia both sides and
brought in some leftover gravel from driveway project for the approaches. Fun project overall.  
A 6 ton bridge for a 2 ton tractor. Probably have $250 in it. Good luck with yours !

Offline PatMcD

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2021, 08:07:06 AM »
Also here in Maine...get friendly with somebody from CMP or the utility pole contractors. Our standard snowmobile bridges have become 5 phone poles: 2 on each side where the tires of a standard tractor would fall, and 1 down the middle. Plank with PT 2x8's. Locally cut hemlock always works, but you never know how long it will last; it'll either be 5 weeks or 5 years. I can take my 55hp tractor with bushog across them up to 32 feet long.

Online Al_Smith

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2021, 11:31:01 AM »
Some time ago the farmers would get old road bridges probably for next to nothing from the county road departments .These usually were riveted steel and plenty strong enough .I only assume they were cheap else the farmers would not have them . 

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2021, 02:45:16 PM »
Whether you can use culvert pipes or need a bridge depends on the area of your watershed.  Magic man would need a pipe large enough to drive a truck through, and how practical is that.   Too much water comes down that stream for any averaged sized pipe to work.   In forestry, we sized pipes by using a topo map to calculate the area of the watershed that the streamcourse drains as an input into a formula to calculate culvert pipe size.  

If the creek floods and if the water gets over the top of the bridge or culvert pipe crossing, you have big trouble.  Debis will build up and dam the up the upstream side and blow your pipe or bridge out.  
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Online Southside

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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2021, 04:41:49 PM »
Would that be a bridge over troubled water WDH?  :D
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Re: Bridge over ditch
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2021, 07:29:10 PM »
Yes, two of my bridges are over troubled waters since both cross the same stream and the watershed is about 12 square miles.  Many times, such as right now, only one of the two is cross-able.  I have detailed rebuilding both of them several times here on the Forestry Forum. 
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