Is This Bridge Safe to Cross with my Tractor?
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    Is This Bridge Safe to Cross with my Tractor?

    Any Civil Engineers here or carpenters with an understanding of lumber spans and the weight it can bear? I'm attaching some pics of a bridge across the creek on my property. It is solid and well built - the previous owner was a Civil engineer. I'm concerned if it will safely hold the weight of the tractor and attachments. The span is 12' supported with 4x4 posts with a 2x8 bolted through the 4x4 posts. the two center spans are 2x10. The two outer spans are 2x8. Everything is bolted together - no nails. I estimate the age of the bridge at 10-15 years.

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    Jer
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    Do you think that creek bed would support a few cinderblocks +/- some 3/4" treated plywood, or a sidewalk block, for surface area that you could put 2 or 3 treated 6x6 or even 8x8 on to act as pillars?? You'd have to get wet and muddy, once, but I'd feel a lot safer with that. 2x10's are strong, but i dunno if I'd be piloting a couple to a few thousand pounds across only 2 of them spanned across 12'.....

    The floor joists in your house are what, 2x8's, on 24" centers? What's the biggest span you can have without a wall or telepost below, or a big glue-lam beam, or a metal I-beam? That's enough for you to walk on and keep your fridge full of beer, but I wouldn't run my tractor across that floor.

    I'm not an engineer, take my thoughts for what they're worth.

    -J.
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    I am no Engineer but that seems like a long span. Let me put this out there I would add two more 2X10's one to each of the one's that are all ready there and bolt them together. I would also add 2X8's to the 4X4 posts and bolt them together. You may want to add 1 more 4X4 post to each side so there would be one in the middle of the 2X8's. Just putting it out there.

    Doug
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    Why?

    Just cross the creek.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingeryote View Post
    Why?

    Just cross the creek.
    Just don't tell the tree huggers.
    Eric

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    I'm not an engineer.

    That bridge looks a bit light to me. Looks to me to be meant for pedestrian or maybe ATV use.

    If I was to build a bridge like that I would use 2x12's double or tripled up. Or better yet 8 or 10" steel beams. But, that's just me. I tend to over build things.
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    Eric

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    Yeah - that span bothers me too. A lawn tractor goes across it no problem - thats how we mow the other side. sure would be great to drive the tractor over there and clean out the underbrush some. I'm thinking maybe a bug culvert pipe and backfill at a narrow spot back upstream.
    Last edited by JohnFromOKC; 04-20-2014 at 07:58 AM.

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    I'm going to contradict everyone...

    The bridge is fine on the right half (from your picture below)... but the left half it's scary!

    Looks like someone widened it, and didn't run stringers the same way to the left side. If you were to continue the stringers across, and use the same size joist on the far left, then it might be doable. the Hangers you buy would make it easy to add them.

    That would make is JUST passable to carry about 2000ish lbs. If you are going to drive the tractor across fully loaded, and start to push over 3000ish... I'd say double up the center joist, AND repair the left half.

    Certainly getting down into the muck and supporting the middle would ALSO help dramatically increase the load handling.
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    I don't know but keep in mind the rails on the sides are actually trusses and add a lot of strength. It might hold, why not set up a video camera in full side view, go for it, if you make it across then . If you don't make it across you can share a real cool video with all of us about what not to do, .
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
    The bridge is fine on the right half (from your picture below)... but the left half it's scary!

    Looks like someone widened it, and didn't run stringers the same way to the left side. If you were to continue the stringers across, and use the same size joist on the far left, then it might be doable. the Hangers you buy would make it easy to add them.
    I believe it is the angle of the picture throwing you off. I think there are 2 2x10's designed to carry the main live load near the middle. They set on top of the 2x8 pier bent on both ends which are bolted to 4x4 support piers. Then both the left and right side are the same with a 2x8 spanning the length which adds support for the dead load of the rails.

    It is a very well designed bridge for lighter loads. Just my thoughts, but I would think you would be flirting over capacity limits running your 1025 across this. As a permanent bridge I would not rely on it for your tractor without major structural modifications.
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