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The Rains Brought Judgement

 
Posts: 35
Location: The Ozarks
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Phew, so a few hard storms here in the Ozarks aaaand...we made some discoveries yesterday.

1) There's a spring-thingy! Yay! Maybe there's a cave under that hill?
2) Pretty waterfalls and full ponds and nice clean boulders.
3) Our roads and culverts are fucked.

We have multiple draws across our land which head south to the road.

FIRST DRAW: The heavy rains dug a deep cut in the first draw, right by the "driveway", washed out our culvert and much of our gravel. The culvert is now pressed against the concrete waterway under the road, giving me an accusing look of "I told you so, you sonofa--".

SECOND DRAW: Water is rushing underneath the road somehow. It looks like maybe there are fallen trees underneath the dirt and rocks and the water found good passage through. There appears to be no culvert in place. Road damage minimal.

THIRD DRAW: The culvert is shooting as much water as it can from the "pond" on the other side of the road (dammed by the road itself, unfortunately), but it's not enough. The water runs over the top of the road and has eaten it away a good two or three feet, exposing the culvert little by little. A few more storms like that and there will be no culvert....or road.

STREET: We are losing material to the side of the road, where it fills the little water ditch and the state comes by and scrapes it back off the road. (Thank you, guys! Sorry!)

So. The land has voted to reject these contrary-to-nature implements called "roads" and "culverts". It's time for a compromise.

What can we do to allow for the flow of water AND the flow of people, equipment, animals, etc? Something up and away from the periodic GUSH of floodwaters, simple enough for two simpletons to construct by hand, and sturdy enough not to result in a trailer full of sheep tumbling down a canyon of doom. (Okay, it's not THAT dramatic...)

And before you say, "You mean like a bridge, dummy?" YES. I do. But...simpler. We need to get something up quick as we currently cannot access the property by vehicle.

Here's my thought....you know that second draw? The one with possibly some felled trees under the road? Why can't I take some of the many felled trees on my property (not rotted), put rocks and gravel under their ends, lay them over the "crik" and bury the ends with drainy/anti-water gravel material? As long as you keep the logs from tumbling off the sides, couldn't you use that as a bridge? I know "arches are the strongest shape known to the whole universe" but I want something simple. Why do measurements, buy brick/concrete and so on when I could slap some local materials down and use that?

The attached photo is not mine, nor of my land, nor of my vehicle, but it is for general reference.
FLOOD.jpg
[Thumbnail for FLOOD.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 950
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Was this a professionally-installed road? If so, someone else should be liable. Clearly not engineered for a one-year event, much less a hundred-year flood. It sounds like a recent road, and I would respectfully ask the engineer/builder to amend their work. Failing that then seek legal assistance.

If you home-brewed it, well... you learned something. Drainage will happen. I have a driveway that is slightly sinking due to poor drainage. I am literally spending more money on the drainage than on the pavement, because it doesn't matter if it is paved with gold if the drainage sucks. I don't know what your budget is but you may do better with a span bridge/suspension bridge with a wide aperture under it. You could probably build one on your own but the pilings would be a challenge on a grade.

Not totally sure what you are working with in terms of topography so hard to make recommendations.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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I know nothing about earthworks or roads; but I did hear somewhere of folks in Africa building "fords" across seasonal, temporary streams. They widened the channel and put down lots of large rocks to form a primitive "pavement" with chinks in it too narrow for vehicle wheels to fall into. At low water, the stream flowed between the rocks and there was a dry surface. At high water, the water was spread out enough not to do any damage, and was usually low enough to ford with the right vehicle.

I assume it was all put in "flat" so that it would not dam up the flow.

But maybe this is a really bad idea for some reason. I assume it would need really big rocks, especially on the upstream edge.
 
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To be honest with you, the picture you provided is a means to get across a stream in an emergency, but is not a great method. A better method is to pick 2/3/4 good sized trees and lay them as they did in the photo but spread out. BUT that is NOT the driving surface. The better alternative is to start laying 8 foot wide logs over the tops of those carrying timbers so to speak, so that the weight is better transferred. Obviously they are spiked to the carrying timbers below and for the smoothest surface, should be roughly the same diameter, or the humps flattened out on the driving surface side. Naturally with this method, you are limited to about 20-30 feet in span, but it is exceptionally robust, especially if you have a few big trees for the carrying timbers.

Another cheap alternative though is to use Environmental Mats. They are 8 x 8 inch square beams, bolted together to make mats that are 4 feet wide and 16 feet wide. The powerline, pipeline and construction industries use these in the droves, so used ones can be bought very inexpensively. Since they are made out of hardwood, they last for years and hold an incredible amount of weight. Just (2) of them can be laid side by side, making for a 8 foot wide bridge that spans 16 feet. As a logger, this is what I often use and pound over them all day, every day, for years with 20 ton bulldozers and skidders.

If you are not satisfied with any of these ideas, do a search for US Forest Service Timber Bridges. The Forest Service, as well as loggers, know roads and bridges because we need to construct roads that are economical to build, yet support heavy loads, so over the years different options abound to get around challenges. A great resource is actually your regional state forester. Before I built a major road on my property I had them come out, scout where the road should be be laid out, then finally built it last year. Just watching Youtube videos will also help...



 
Travis Johnson
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TJ Jefferson...you said your road is sinking which makes me wonder if there is a cheaper alternative to your issue. It may not be, I understand drainage in roadways for sure, but one trick employed in logging roads that cannot support heavy loads is "Corduroying". I am not sure if you know of this method or not, but if you have, then I will keep explaining just so others who may not have heard of it, will consider it.

Corduroying is simply taking a wet hole and filling it with wood. Think of it like a set of railroad tracks, the ties are spaced every 2 feet to help support the rails and let it float over the ballast. With corduroying a road, you simply place wood into the mud the width of the roadway. Lets say your road is 12 feet wide. You cut trees 12 feet wide and lay it side by side until you get past your mud hole. You fill the mud hole with trees so that as you drive your vehicles over the mud hole, the wood helps support the vehicle over a wider area. At first you might have to keep adding wood, or put some big logs in, but eventually you get enough wood to make a navigable road. Then as you add gravel or soil over the wood, it smooths up.

How long does this method last...centuries actually. Because compacted earth does not allow oxygen below 6 inches, decay stops. The road I live on traverses a swamp below my house and the original builders put corduroy in the wet hole on each side of the approaches to the bridge. 100 years later a misinformed contractor dug the wood up and it was just as sound as when it was dropped into the muck. They then back filled the area with gravel. That was a mistake. The gravel is slowly settling into the muck and now cars slam into the bridge because it is several inches higher then the approaches. They keep adding pavement ramps, but it will just continue to sink...I have been traveling along old logging roads up north and they are still in existence and were built in the 1930's.

Whenever possible, use rock as it is a forever kind of product, but cordaroying a road that is sinking into mud is a very viable second option. It will outlast the person who installs it for sure.

 
I suggest huckleberry pie. But the only thing on the gluten free menu is this tiny ad:
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