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I have a ravine by the house that delivers a little rain water and ground water to my pond. During heavy storms there is standing water in the ravine but it's usually just mud. I want to build a foot bridge over it. I want to do this myself (with my brothers' help) and I would like to do it as simply and cheaply as possible. This bridge will be for pedestrians but I imagine the kids might ride a mini bike over it - no tractors or machinery. The span of the mud is about 23'; I would add about 10' to that (5' each side) if I secure this up the bank.
Trying to avoid having to support it in the middle as I'm not sure about driving posts in the mud, unless I wait until winter when I can walk on the surface.
Would like some opinions or suggestions before I decide on something alone. Most of my projects end up with me realizing there was a better way when I am already half way through it.
1. Considering using 2 telephone poles with deck boards going across it if I make a raised bridge.
2. Also thinking about a "floating" bridge though it would really just be laying in mud so not sure if that is a sound idea. I could build a frame with treated boards around plastic barrels. Not very pretty but functional.

Here are 2 pics of the area to give an idea of what I'm looking at. The bridge will span from point 1 to point 2, if that wasn't evident.

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IMG_20220919_151657_541 (2).jpg (88.94 KB, 112 downloads)
IMG_20220919_151805_440 (2).jpg (87.14 KB, 95 downloads)
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We have used 2 telephone poles decked with 2' long deck boards treated with urethane containing sand for traction. Our bridges are only for foot traffic. Would not recommend for any motorized traffic.

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That is a good looking pond with a little surrounding forest!

Can you easily lower the water level in the pond? If so, one option would be to pull the water level down about 2-3 feet and then throw out some plywood so you can work at your mud crossing. That would enable you to do a more traditional bridge with posts throughout the span.

That would be better looking, but certainly more work than just staking out the telephone poles. However, transportation on some 25' poles may cost more than the poles themselves (unless you have a long trailer).

Here is a link to Rusto's pond projects. He did a bridge last year over about that same span. I think his final product looks great, but his pond is just beyond the back deck of his house - so I am pretty sure his wife made the appearance part of the job requirements!

Rusto's Bridge (and other projects)

Scroll from 9/12/21 through 4/10/22.

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I looked at it one time. However, I saw no way to get the poles to the pond or across the span I was interested in.


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Originally Posted by FishinRod
That is a good looking pond with a little surrounding forest!

Can you easily lower the water level in the pond? If so, one option would be to pull the water level down about 2-3 feet and then throw out some plywood so you can work at your mud crossing. That would enable you to do a more traditional bridge with posts throughout the span.
Here is a link to Rusto's pond projects.

Thanks FishinRod. I just cleared all of the brush and trees in that area for access. I've planned this for years and finally getting started.
I did study Rusto's bridge as well as the rest of that link. I wish I had the shoreline like he has, and the excavator!
I could lower the water level, as you suggested, if I rent a pump but I don't have any kind of machinery to drive poles in the mud like Rusto has. So I'm leaning towards the floated bridge. We can build it in 2 sections and drag it into place after a good rain.
But I am still VERY open to ideas.

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Have you considered looking at just buying a few sections of premolded floating dock?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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IMO, footed posts, and brackets are far easier than dealing with lumber, and the effort saved is well worth it. Just build your bridge panels the size you want them, then drop them on the brackets. Also, consider that floating bridges probably require moving/sliding sections on the banks as the water level rises and falls.

esshup and I have built 3 docks, and all three were with Tommy Docks hardware. Look specifically at the muck feet and galvanized posts. Also, unless something has recently changed, if bought through the big orange box store there's no shipping costs. If you're doing this manually, and won't move deck panels with a tractor, then deck the pressure treated frame once it's in position on the brackets. TD hardware


AL

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Have you considered looking at just buying a few sections of premolded floating dock?

Looked into those but - if we're looking at the same things - they are expensive. Maybe you could post a pic of what you're referring to.

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Originally Posted by FireIsHot
IMO, footed posts, and brackets are far easier than dealing with lumber, and the effort saved is well worth it. Just build your bridge panels the size you want them, then drop them on the brackets. Also, consider that floating bridges probably require moving/sliding sections on the banks as the water level rises and falls.
esshup and I have built 3 docks, and all three were with Tommy Docks hardware. Look specifically at the muck feet and galvanized posts. TD hardware

Having stationary posts or poles (are these called piles?) to build onto would certainly make this easier. My issue is with driving the posts in the mud. I can't walk on that surface (and don't have machinery) so, unless I want to wait until winter, I would need something solid to work on - I could always drop a tree or 2 and pull them across in the interim. I figure I have 3 ft of mud (or more) then at least 2 ft into solid dirt so I'd need to be driving 9-10ft posts and I'm under 6ft tall, and probably doing this by myself.

I can get my hands on some 10ft galvanized pipe (2 3/8" dia). After sinking them I could drill through those and attach pressure treated 2x6s between them, then use that as support for the long 2x6s which will hold the deck boards. Would 2 3/8" piles be big enough? I worry about them gradually sinking over time. And this is when the plastic barrel walkway sounds more realistic.
The logistics are perplexing me as I try to juggle
- materials I can handle alone
- materials I can transport in my truck
- materials within my budget
- structure I can build/move on the mud
- my poor building skills

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Originally Posted by Jbbb
Originally Posted by Sunil
Have you considered looking at just buying a few sections of premolded floating dock?

Looked into those but - if we're looking at the same things - they are expensive. Maybe you could post a pic of what you're referring to.

I didn't have anything specific in mind, but was thinking something like this:

https://www.ez-dock.com/products/dock-sections/


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I have sort of the same issue...

This is all I have thus far...but it was free:
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Kind of neat
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Fishing has never been about the fish....

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Zep's first picture reminds me of a scene from the obstacle course in "Stripes."


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
I didn't have anything specific in mind, but was thinking something like this:
https://www.ez-dock.com/products/dock-sections/

Those would definitely work but would run about 4-6 times what it would cost to build myself. Looked locally for something like that used but no luck.


Originally Posted by Zep
I have sort of the same issue...This is all I have thus far...but it was free:]

Is that cedar? If I had those banks I'd be all over that idea. My issue is - no tractor. Bummer.

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Zep's first picture reminds me of a scene from the obstacle course in "Stripes."
Sunil I've almost got wet a few times. No Patron and Squirt before-hand helps!

Originally Posted by Jbbb
Is that cedar?
Yes it's cedar. We have a lot of cedar on the property.


Fishing has never been about the fish....

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Ive always pictured building a bridge out of the light trailer house frame Ibeams, you can cut the center struts and lap them over each other and make it pretty narrow, also if a person was real artistic you can cut a small v in the bottom of them in a couple places and bring that together and weld it creating an arched walkway, for possibly very little out of pocket expense, they will almost give you the trailer frames to get rid of them. obviously this is an easier project for someone with a welding and fabricating skills.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Originally Posted by gehajake
Ive always pictured building a bridge out of the light trailer house frame Ibeams...they will almost give you the trailer frames to get rid of them. obviously this is an easier project for someone with a welding and fabricating skills.
That was my first plan, to find a mobile home trailer and cut it down. I don't have welding and fabrication skills but I can get my hands on a torch and an angle grinder. No one is giving them away here though. They're used to make haul trailers a lot of time. I'm still checking the for them online though.

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Jbbb, I’m looking to do something similar but need tractor access. My thoughts were to use 3 telephone poles laid across the stream and decked with actual 2x6 rough cut lumber attached with ledger lock screws. My neighbor does something like this and drives his Chevy 1500 4wd across it. In your situation as a pedestrian bridge you might look at 2 telephone poles with pressure treated lumber decking attached with exterior deck screws. As far as moving the poles across the span, I would attach a snatch block to a tree further than you want the pole to go. Next tie the rope to the pole and run it through the pulley on the snatch block back to your vehicle alongside the pole you will be moving. Tie the rope to the vehicle, drive until the pole is in the desired location. You will probably need a couple of plastic 55 gallon drums for the pole to roll across the span to avoid putting it in the mud. Repeat process for second pole. After both poles are set drill a hole on the end of each pole and drive 4-6 foot of rebar in the 4 holes to anchor it. I have not tried this method yet but is an idea for your situation.

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I have 4 walking bridges in various places across a stream, each made using 2 telephone poles skinned with 2'-long pressure-treated deck boards painted with marine urethane containing sand. These were originally skinned in recycled 2x4s, but they rotted. Crossing when they were iced up was not good without the sand paint. Once upon a time, we just used an simple telephone pole for a bridge, but a friend ended up in the water.

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I still like Zep's Pic #2 design as the best option so far. (Of course, it may look good to me because it is crossing a mountain stream!)

That design requires much fewer materials. I like having the hand rail.

I also likes RAH's addition of the sand paint to walking surface.

I have never planed a long timber with my chainsaw. Does anyone know if an average "craftsman" would cut a suitably flat and level walking surface?

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Finally got it finished. Found some 8ft galvanized pipe used for scaffolding and spliced 2x8x16' pressure treated boards along the length. Made a few mistakes along the way, which is normal. Made things harder than they needed to be but it's structurally stable. Thanks for all of the input. Not sure why my original pics are not viewable anymore. Hope these are.

The old bridge and new bridge.

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Originally Posted by Jbbb
Finally got it finished. Found some 8ft galvanized pipe used for scaffolding and spliced 2x8x16' pressure treated boards along the length. Made a few mistakes along the way, which is normal. Made things harder than they needed to be but it's structurally stable. Thanks for all of the input. Not sure why my original pics are not viewable anymore. Hope these are.

The old bridge and new bridge.

Unless you put the pictures up on a hosting site like imgur, then post a link to them here, we can't see the pictures. The free UBB software that this forum uses is having issues and none of us moderators can fix the issues.


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