Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bridge Replacement on the Turkey Trot

Well, we lucked out with the weather Saturday. What was predicted to be a raw, rainy morning turned out to be pretty nice for our work party. We replaced a footbridge on the Turkey Trot Trail along the powerlines north of Rt. 108. The former bridge was an old machine pallet that was well beyond it's life. Here's a picture of the rickety old bridge in it's tunnel of briars.

We had a good turn out so we were able to tackle different tasks; While we removed the old bridge Sheri & Luis started clearing briars at the stream, Lynn and Carol cleared out the trail down to the bridge, Nick & I started playing in the mud building the foundations, and Bill, Rich & Jim brought in the bridge materials with the Gator & started building the bridge.

Here's the start. The pictures don't do justice to the nasty, nasty briars that had to come out. I think Luis needs to get a new pair of gloves after this one.

The briars were trapping debris in the stream, which caused the water to build up and wash out the old bridge in storms. So we built the new bridge to be above the high flows and be more stable.
And here's Carol, Luis & Sheri with the "after" picture and the new abutments.

And here's Nick when he wasn't using one of our new used pickaxes to clear out the area for the bridge abutments. Nick is going to be replacing the "J-pond" bridge on the Dominick Trail latter this year as part of an upcoming Eagle Scout project.

The Gator not only is useful to haul in material, but it also makes a pretty fair workbench. We used pressure treated lumber for the new bridge so it should have a long life. Just have to remember to buy more driver bits - Jim & Rich are tough on equipment.

Bill & Jim walked the bridge down into position. The new bridge is 8 ft. x 2 ft.

As part of the Shelton Trails Committee Quality Control program we make the guy who built the bridge be the first to cross it. The public will be happy to know that Jim pronounced it fit & sturdy. He did go and get our new bridge all muddy though.

Almost right on cue we had our first customers. The passage was a success & we didn't even charge them a toll. Lynn reported that a number of other hikers and bikers were using it later that afternoon.

Here's the finished bridge with stone ramps built up on either end for mountain bikers. Our work force was all hikers so we tried to make the ramps nice and solid, but if anybody feels more stone is needed please feel free to do some additional work. Or work on the trails - the briars are tough to control in this area.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friendly neighborhood Shelton Trails Volunteers. Rich, Nick, Sheri, Bill, Lynn, Carol, Luis & Jim are shown here testing out the completed bridge. You'll be happy to know that it's sturdy. Happy hiking & dry feet.

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