Monday, 7 March 2011

Bridge Building on the Elterwater Path Project

Everybody that goes walking will have had to deal at some point with the problem of crossing water, be it a tiny trickle or a raging torrent, many times this involves a leap-of-faith or very nimble footwork, more often than not  resulting in wet feet.

Many of the paths we repair also include techniques for crossing water, and for the Elterwater path project this has involved constructing three wooden bridges.

Now although path work in general is not an exact science bridge building requires an element of precision. The process can be broken down into three stages:

Stage 1: Construction of solid bridge foundations in this case revetments along either side of the river.

Stone revetment for bridge

Stage 2: Installation of the bridge beams ensuring that they are horizontal, this requires the use of a spirit level, a simple but often under rated piece of equipment. This stage sounds simple but requires a lot of ‘messing about’ to get everything level, square and solid so that it doesn’t rock about when you stand on it or turn into a slide when wet.

Levelling bridge beams

Stage 3: Attaching of the bridge treads ensuring that there is a small gap between each one to ensure that water can drain off easily.

The final touches

 Certain bridges would include hand rails, but that’s a story for another time.

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