Sunday, September 26, 2010

Five Men, Three Bridges,One Day ~ Working 9-5 ~

Here is the 6:00 am beginning of a bridge building day!
A stop by the shed to select the tools that might be needed in the course of the day.
We were working several miles from the storage shed, so in order to keep from coming back during the day I tried to make sure I had ample supplies for what ever we might encounter. I planned for three fully equipped teams should that many volunteers show up.
Layer it all in the back of the Honda for easy removing when we get to the work site.
Bruce Wisely, our bridge engineer, master builder, and mentor arrived with three cut and ready to assemble bridges.
He brought the bridges in the back of his truck and in his wagon layerd in sequence for taking off and building bridge one, two, and then three..
Bruce reaches out a friendly welcome and we unloaded the first bridge along the roadside near the creeks.
After hauling all the lumber through the forest the first step is to build the "box". The beams and the end joist are set in place.
Professor Allen de Hart joined us on this work day. Allen is the founder of FMST and the inspiration and motivation to our trail efforts in Watauga. Allen is our MST regional trail advisor. Here he inspects the box sitting on the footer before the next step.
Post holes are dug for the setting of the upright anchors to tie the bridge into. There was so much underground water that our holes filled with water almost instantly as we dug.
Next the joists are hammered to the beams. They provide support and help prevent bowing the beams.
At this point the joists are in place, the end plates attached, and the anchors are in place and attached.
Concrete has been added to the holes and we are ready to go vertical!
Gerry attaches one of the posts for the handrails. They are bolted on and locked with washers and nuts.
Question ~ How many Nuts does it take to build a 16 foot bridge?*
Judging from this picture one might think this was a DOT job!
*(20 nuts and five men :)
Gary attaches the handrail atop the posts to finish off Bridge #1 built in just under two hours.
The second bridge is actually over flowing water, a real creek, not just a boggy bottom~
The beams are layed out to start to determine the placement of the bridge.
Working over a real creek also means : "Feats in the Creeks", make that "Feets in the Creek :).
Gary cranks down on one of the post bolts. This bridge moved along much smoother and we finished the second one in even less time.
To evenly space the treads we developed a technique that used a standard measure of one rebar thickness. Allen guides us with rebar and stern discipline (ouch, no hitting) to progress with the foot tread.
This bridge moved along much smoother and we finished the second bridge before lunch!
Gary caught yours truly, your blogmaster, actually swinging a hammer!
This was one of my favorite photos of the day. Allen (on the left) is 85 years old and Alex, who is on the right, is 22 years old. With a difference of 63 years, these two made quite a team effort to finish this last bridge.
And we did, before 5:00, three bridges under our feet.
~ embedded ~
And it is time to head home for the day.

Many, MANY thanks to Bruce Wisely for designing, cutting, and delivering these bridges to us from his shop in Raleigh. Bruce is a patient teacher and master bridge man. He stakes his claim to five of the five bridges we have built in our Watauga Section.

A HUGE THANK YOU to our volunteers who came today to help us. Two from off the mountain, and three from Watauga. Thank you Gerry, Gary, Shelton, Alex, Allen, and Bruce.  A good time and good work was had by all.

And thank you always to Allen, you have successfully led MST Watauga to accomplish so much over the last two years. We couldn't do it without you.

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