Building a bridge for my tractor
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    Jamone's Avatar
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    Building a bridge for my tractor

    So my culvert/dirt bridge over my creek has washed out 3 times this summer. We had 3 major floods, and each time the water completely covered the bridge, clogged the 2 18" culverts and then removed most of the dirt and one of the culverts this last time.

    I'm finally going to build a real bridge, so as to not wash away. My family owns a metal shop, so I'm getting 3 I-beams for the span from them, 16' long each. They should according to my calculations handle 8000 lbs of single point weight in the middle of the span, with acceptable deflection (< 0.75"). I have a 2038r which is 2500#, but by the time you add ballast, loader, me and max loader load is ~6500#, and I wanted some extra margin above that. Extra capacity would be needed if I get stuck on the far side again and need to call my brother to pull me out with his 4066r or H1 Hummer. I plan to have each of the 3 beams get a ~2-3' long pipe welded to each end. Then I'll dig a hole for each in the bank and pour concrete to make sure it doesn't move. Then I was thinking of using pressure treated lumber for decking boards that I attach to the beams with U-bolts. Any advice on what size boards I should use for the decking? I was thinking of making it 8' wide as much lumber comes in 8' or 16' increments, but at 8' that would be the exact width of the H1 and pretty tight for the 4066r (wide tire setting, and 4" spacers) so maybe I need to do 10'. But that would also mean that the tires on most of these wouldn't be right above the beams anymore, so I'd need to make sure the decking could handle that weight. We know metal & the math to make sure we get it strong enough, but I'm far less sure on the wood side. Also is there any type of wood I should favor over another? While it does flood potently a handful of times per year, the majority of the time it will be 3-4' above the water level. The actual creek width is 10-11' where I would be spanning it.
    Last edited by Jamone; 10-14-2018 at 05:08 PM.

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    Someone in Richmond must sell this type thing,,,

    Box Culvert - Permatile Concrete Products Company

    Drop the tractor or H1 into the creek, the box culvert will look cheap,,,

    They just installed the Permatile culvert under a local road,, a VERY nice product,,,
    Some of the tractors include JD 4105, JD 855, JD 650,,,, and,,, the IH 584 4WD
    My favorite attachment is the homemade landplane,,, EVERYONE needs one of those!!

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    From your post, I cant see how you intend to lay out the bridge itself.
    Materials and loads are fairly simple to calculate, but what you absolutely must take into account, and Ive learned this from experience, having several small bridges wash completely away, is the stress the water puts on it.
    The best thing you can do with regard to this is to make sure the beams dont hang down into the water. What I mean, and its hard to describe without pictures, is that you want the lowest portion of the beam to be above the highest level of the land. This means your bridge will have an approach and departure angle.
    We tried for a VERY long time at my grandfathers to avoid this. It meant we replaced bridge decks several times, and even tried abandoning the old concrete piers that were poured and making new ones in a different spot. It didnt work.
    In the end, the small stream had such power when flooded, even without breaching the bank, that it would erode the earth behind the concrete.

    The final solution included very little concrete. Only enough for three 3' deep holes on each side to anchor the main cross beams. The creek flooded several times in the 6-7 years before the property was sold, and never weakened in the least, unlike previous attempts.
    The reason was the deck was elevated so that when the water breached the bank, only then would it be able to push on the bridge, and because the water had somewhere else to go, without increasing pressure, it never damaged the bridge.

    I hate to add another dimension (figuratively and literally) to your plans, but Id certainly think about it, since you dont want to be doing this again anytime soon.
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    If your bank width is 10' to 11', it becomes obvious that the 2 18" culverts were WAY undersized, which is why they can't hold up. I would speak with a local engineering firm to have them do a hydrological survey to determine the proper culvert size to be able to pass the expected water flow. It may be easier than trying to design and build a bridge that may be too narrow to be practical. You could end up with 3 - 36" culverts, but that would be an engineered design, with a design storm of 25 to 50 years.

    I also would raise the road elevation in the area of the culvert so that any overtopping doesn't occur in the area of the culverts.

    Dave
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    You're local NRCS office can tell you what size pipe is needed. Whatever size they say I'd use and then use rip-rap on the above and below stream sides of the structure. Including the creek floor 10- 20 feet down stream.

    The traffic area of the top use a heavy clay gravel. Several I've down before I rip-rap the entire structure and in the traffic portion I fill the gaps with crushed stone.

    I'd use #50 rip-rap and have it laid with a track hoe around 1.5 to 2 feet thick. You are only covering the structure so it won't take a lot to cover it. A track hoe can lay that rock tight so it can be driven over even if the top material for smoothness is moved from scour.

    The overtopping will be short duration for the most part but it's designed to be overtopped.

    Bridges will last awhile but will eventually need heavy maintenance.
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    Jamone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaJim View Post
    From your post, I cant see how you intend to lay out the bridge itself.
    Materials and loads are fairly simple to calculate, but what you absolutely must take into account, and Ive learned this from experience, having several small bridges wash completely away, is the stress the water puts on it.
    The best thing you can do with regard to this is to make sure the beams dont hang down into the water. What I mean, and its hard to describe without pictures, is that you want the lowest portion of the beam to be above the highest level of the land. This means your bridge will have an approach and departure angle.
    We tried for a VERY long time at my grandfathers to avoid this. It meant we replaced bridge decks several times, and even tried abandoning the old concrete piers that were poured and making new ones in a different spot. It didnt work.
    In the end, the small stream had such power when flooded, even without breaching the bank, that it would erode the earth behind the concrete.

    The final solution included very little concrete. Only enough for three 3' deep holes on each side to anchor the main cross beams. The creek flooded several times in the 6-7 years before the property was sold, and never weakened in the least, unlike previous attempts.
    The reason was the deck was elevated so that when the water breached the bank, only then would it be able to push on the bridge, and because the water had somewhere else to go, without increasing pressure, it never damaged the bridge.

    I hate to add another dimension (figuratively and literally) to your plans, but Id certainly think about it, since you dont want to be doing this again anytime soon.
    My plan is to cut the beams on a 45 angle on each end so I can lay the first/last plank on an angle to make a brief on/off ramp. I was going to lay the 3 beams on top of the existing bank and pour a 2-3í deep hole of concrete for each beam end (with metal running perpendicular to them beam into the concrete) to keep it from washing away. What I was picturing sounds pretty similar to what you were describing.




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    Jamone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Manager View Post
    If your bank width is 10' to 11', it becomes obvious that the 2 18" culverts were WAY undersized, which is why they can't hold up. I would speak with a local engineering firm to have them do a hydrological survey to determine the proper culvert size to be able to pass the expected water flow. It may be easier than trying to design and build a bridge that may be too narrow to be practical. You could end up with 3 - 36" culverts, but that would be an engineered design, with a design storm of 25 to 50 years.

    I also would raise the road elevation in the area of the culvert so that any overtopping doesn't occur in the area of the culverts.

    Dave
    The bank width is 10-11í at the top, but only around 5í at normal water level. I donít have a backhoe so digging out that wide of area by hand isnít realistic to put significantly larger culverts.

    After observing the flooding this year I would have to raise the road bed by probably 4í over a 100-150í long span to get it above the water at the peak flood level Iíve observed. and then Iíd have the entire length of the road that would need culverts all along it to not wash out.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamone View Post
    So my culvert/dirt bridge over my creek has washed out 3 times this summer. We had 3 major floods, and each time the water completely covered the bridge, clogged the 2 18" culverts and then removed most of the dirt and one of the culverts this last time.

    I'm finally going to build a real bridge, so as to not wash away. My family owns a metal shop, so I'm getting 3 I-beams for the span from them, 16' long each. They should according to my calculations handle 8000 lbs of single point weight in the middle of the span, with acceptable deflection (< 0.75"). I have a 2038r which is 2500#, but by the time you add ballast, loader, me and max loader load is ~6500#, and I wanted some extra margin above that. Extra capacity would be needed if I get stuck on the far side again and need to call my brother to pull me out with his 4066r or H1 Hummer. I plan to have each of the 3 beams get a ~2-3' long pipe welded to each end. Then I'll dig a hole for each in the bank and pour concrete to make sure it doesn't move. Then I was thinking of using pressure treated lumber for decking boards that I attach to the beams with U-bolts. Any advice on what size boards I should use for the decking? I was thinking of making it 8' wide as much lumber comes in 8' or 16' increments, but at 8' that would be the exact width of the H1 and pretty tight for the 4066r (wide tire setting, and 4" spacers) so maybe I need to do 10'. But that would also mean that the tires on most of these wouldn't be right above the beams anymore, so I'd need to make sure the decking could handle that weight. We know metal & the math to make sure we get it strong enough, but I'm far less sure on the wood side. Also is there any type of wood I should favor over another? While it does flood potently a handful of times per year, the majority of the time it will be 3-4' above the water level. The actual creek width is 10-11' where I would be spanning it.
    Sounds good. 4x6 PT should be good. I think it's pretty much what they use on small roadway wooden crossings.
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    I would lay out the iron so that it rests under your tires. No reason you can't have the wood overhand the outside beams, but your point loads are going to be where your tires are. Then you could weld on some 1/4" steel supports if you felt like it was necessary to support the wood planks at the ends.
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    Jamone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Satch View Post
    I would lay out the iron so that it rests under your tires. No reason you can't have the wood overhand the outside beams, but your point loads are going to be where your tires are. Then you could weld on some 1/4" steel supports if you felt like it was necessary to support the wood planks at the ends.
    Yeah this is the plan. But Iím going to align the beams with my brotherís heavier 4066rís tires. My 2038r will be fine a foot or two inside them. The beams arrived, just waiting for my brotherís company to cut them and weld the vertical parts that get secured in concrete. He is taking forever but you canít rush free.


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