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My Sixteen Dollar Vehicle Bridge

 
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Okay, so it is a bridge to nowhere, over nothing, and took me all day to build, but it only cost me $16.80 to build. (LOL)

When I rebuilt my driveway, I ended up lifting it by about 3 feet, making for some pretty deep ditches. This severely limited access to the house, and we just could not have that. I could have gone with a culvert, and it would have been easier and a lot faster to do, but 100% utilitarian. So having built a footbridge to our front door, I opted to match it with a bridge we could drive over with vehicles and my tractor.

I started aboy 8 AM today and finished about 3PM in case people are wondering about labor hours, and the total cost was $16.80 for (72) 6 inch long spikes. I already had fuel in the sawmill and tractor, so I did not count that as a cost.

I had some Eastern Hemlock logs kicking around so I used them. The main frame sits on 12" cedar logs 7 feet long. Then the main frame consists of 5x10 inch beams 8-1/2 feet long (that is the bridge span). They are spaced at 5-1/2 feet because my truck is 6 feet wide, and my Tractor is 5 feet, and I wanted the main beams under the wheels.

Over those main beams I sawed 3x6's, 12 feet long spaced 3 inches apart spiked to the main frame beams with those six inch nails. This gives me a bridge with a span of 8'-6" and is 12 feet wide.

The individual 3x6 planks flexed when I stood on the outer ends, so I used a 2x4 Hemlock and spiked the ends so they no longer flex.

I had an 8-1/2 foot Whie Spruce log kicking around, so I sawed (6) 7 inch wide by one inch boards to indicate where the main beams are so I know where to put my tires on my truck and tractor when I drive over the bridge. I then brought up some gravel from my gravel pit for the bridge approaches, but have yet to haul the gravel for the driveway the bridge itself. All in good time, my friends; I am sick so a project like this wears me out.

I thought there might be homesteaders out there who might need a bridge for their own homesteads, so I thought I would put it on here so people can see that they are inexpensive, but kind of time consuming to build. Still, I think it looks a lot better than a culvert would. Here are two pictures, you can be the judge.





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Awesome, I totally need this to cover a spill way swale I put in between two ponds.
 
Travis Johnson
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J Davis wrote:Awesome, I totally need this to cover a spill way swale I put in between two ponds.



This would work probably, as long as the span was not too long, and you did not expect more than a pickup truck, farm tractor, or car over it.
 
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Nice, what is the longevity of the timber in this situation
 
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Very nice! Now that you have it fully installed, can you just flip it back over so we can see the underside?

 
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Will you eventually put in a culvert and drive on a dirt bridge? Oops, I just read your last sentence again. You don't like the look of culverts.
 
Travis Johnson
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John C Daley wrote:Nice, what is the longevity of the timber in this situation



Probably quite long as it is sitting on white cedar, and the bridge itself is made out of Eastern Hemlock, a wood is that not quick to rot. But while the bridge will certainly get wet, air can get underneath it and can dry back out, which really extends the life of anything made out of wood.
 
John C Daley
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Here, timber thta gets wet and dry rots.
For instance bridge piles, that in the ground or in the air last a long time, that zone which is at ground level and gets wet and dry rots much quiker
 
Travis Johnson
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Yeah that is just the nature of wood, but some wood lasts better than others. For instance White Cedar can last for years in the ground because it is rot resistant, like Black Locus and Redwood.

On this bridge, it sits on White Cedar logs for that reason, but the upper parts, the parts where air can circulate around, is made of Eastern Hemlock. It is fairly rot resistant, but not like White Cedar.

So why did I not build the whole bridge out of White Cedar?

Because White Cedar is rot resistant, but NOT strong at all. It is a very brittle wood, and does not load well. It just snaps. Spruce, Pine and Fir are better at strength per weight, which is why planes are often made of spruce...think of the old Spruce Goose, since spruce has a very light weight to strength ration, but Eastern Hemlock is HEAVY. It is really strong, but incredibly heavy. Of course on a bridge, that does not really matter though.

I have a lot of Eastern Hemlock here, and use it for all my building needs because they do not pay well for the logs. Since I have massive sized Eastern Hemlock, I use that for my own needs, and sell my other logs to the mills to pay for my non-wood building materials.

A person should know the different traits of wood types before they build I suppose, but to me it does not really matter. I am NOT one to build "it once for life". I would rather build something, enjoy it, and then rebuild it later, then to wait for years to build it out of the ideal material. In the big scheme of things, I have (1) day and $16 in this bridge, I figure it will at least last ten years, but even if it only lasts 5 years, I can always rip it out of there, and put in a culvert. For a few years though, I have a cute bridge instead of an ugly culvert.
 
Travis Johnson
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Very nice! Now that you have it fully installed, can you just flip it back over so we can see the underside?



Just for you Joylynn, I went out and parked my tractor on top of this bridge so you can see it holds up 3000 pounds anyway, and crawled down low to get a view of the underside of the bridge. Its pretty simple, but then again, that is kind of my point, it does not have to be elaborate to work.


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Travis Johnson
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Oh, I have since named this the Bongton Bridge for its acronymn BONGTN. That is: Bridge Over Nothing, Going To Nowhere! :-)

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Than you! Perfect.
 
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Travis,

This is a total cool project!  I too have a couple of  small streams to cross with my JD2038r.  The streams are only about 2-3 feet wide but they are also abou 2’ deep with an almost 90 degree slope.  I may very well use a variation of this plan to easily cross my streams.

Eric
 
Travis Johnson
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Eric Hanson wrote:Travis,

This is a total cool project!  I too have a couple of  small streams to cross with my JD2038r.  The streams are only about 2-3 feet wide but they are also abou 2’ deep with an almost 90 degree slope.  I may very well use a variation of this plan to easily cross my streams.

Eric



Awesome, it is nice to know I helped someone else.

I have actually done quite a bit more since posting this bridge. I hauled tons more gravel so the driveway extends well beyond the bridge, and I even added a turn around so that I can drive in over the bridge, then back into the turn around, and drive back out over the bridge, instead of being forced to back over the bridge.

I also hauled tons of loam in for my lawn, but the kicker was, after doing weeks of gravel and loam hauling, this old house looks as if it has always been that way. Weeks of work, and it looks like I did NOTHING! Jeesh!
 
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