Hoisting a Suspension Bridge to its New Post

This was the next part of the repair process. Once the post was installed, gravel was shoveled in and tamped. The official tamper tool was too big at first so a 2×4 worked. Next they hooked up the cable to the dead-man and tightened the turnbuckle, which will be adjusted again later. Then it was time for a beer! The hard part was over.

Now it was time to hoist the bridge. They used the come-along again, which worked okay but seemed like it needed help. It took a bit of regrouping, but finally they added a cable winch so there were two devices working instead of one. It took time, but the 80′ bridge was eventually hoisted! All pictured here happened in about 5 hours, including beer breaks.

BridgeUp

BridgeUp2She’s a little beat up and broken, but at least she’s up!

CheeseThe obligatory cheesy grin, photo compliments of the amazing Keith Grossman!

KeithIsFirstWe cleaned off the leaves and the boys crossed the bridge, Keith first. The decking is pretty badly damaged but it was okay for now. Nice not to have to walk across that creek again this winter, assuming the bridge stays out of trouble. Here’s to hope!

Next, Marvin will be straightening things out and making it a little safer for crossing. We’ll replace all the decking as time and weather allows.

Thanks for stopping by. Check out the movie on our Facebook page! And, be sure to check out our book about building this strong bridge. Here is the link:

Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge with the Cable Locking System

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013-2019 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.

Replacing the Post on a Small Cable Suspension Bridge

P1020059

As you might remember, February 25, 2019 was a bad day for our 80′ suspension bridge that we built in 2005. Part of a large maple tree weighted down from heavy snow decided to break and fall directly on one of the support posts on the other side of the creek, bringing lots of other trees with it. Once it thawed and we could get someone over to clean up the mess, we assessed the damage. We had to replace the post, which involved many steps, and most of the decking. Also, we had to raise the bridge again.

We lined up a contractor and a crew to do the work with Marvin’s supervision, but they were busy and having a hard time fitting us in. Summer came and went, and when the rains started this fall, we decided we could do it ourselves with help from our neighbor (and plenty of beer!). We are not as young as we were when we built this bridge, but we still have the same determination to get the job done. To note, since the damage is on the other side of the creek, everything had to be done by human power and ingenuity. And did I mention plenty of beer? I think I did.

Beers

dig it

 

DigItTools

One of the first tasks was to dig up the old post. All went well until we realized it was buried 4′ deep, not 3′. We should have read our book! The last foot or so needed a special tool since there was no room for a shovel. The cut cake pan worked the best. Cut the pan and then screw the two halves together and we had a quick and easy gravel scoop!

CutNewPostCarvePostEnd

We used a power pole again, though this one is pretty substantial. The end was carved for the metal collar that connects to the bridge cable and to the cable to the dead man. Holes were drilled and the raw end was treated with preservative.

BangingCollar

Marvin had to chisel the collar off the old post, then he replaced both eye bolts, which were bent when the trees hit the post. The eye bolt for the bridge cable is 3/4″ and the one for the dead man cable is 5/8″.

The above collection of photos shows some of the post-wrangling. The two guys used a pee-vee, cables, chains, and a handy little tractor on the opposite side to get the post across the 40 foot wide creek with steep banks on both sides. There’s a movie of some of this on our Facebook page, link below. If you wonder why a lot of cable is wrapped up on the tractor bucket, that’s because we had to reel it in as the post headed across the creek.

PostReadyAndTripodTripodPulley

Next, the boys built a tripod using 20′ 2x4s and installed a pulley at the top. At first they had rope to pull up the post, but it was soon replaced with cable because the post was heavier than estimated.

They used a come-along which worked to get the post raised so much, then the post had to be secured, the rope loosened, and the come-along reset. It took several resets before the post finally drifted above the hole.

InPost

 

TargetAim

The last trick was to center the post on the pin in the concrete pad as it was lowered into the 4′ deep hole.

PostIn

The new post is in place!

BridgeSpanWithNewPostIt was cool to see the new post up and almost ready for the bridge deck. Next, we back-fill with gravel (by hand of course) and tamp it in. Stay tuned, and be sure to watch for exciting movies on our Facebook Page here!

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to check out our book about building this bridge. Here is the link:

Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge with the Cable Locking System

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013-2019 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.

Suspension Bridge VS Big Tree: Bridge Wins!

February 25, 2019 was not a good day for our suspension bridge. A snowstorm hit that weekend with 8-12 inches of wet, heavy snow, and trees started falling everywhere. Power was out all over the state, including here (which isn’t that unusual given our rural location). But alas, one big alder tree snapped and landed on one of the bridge posts, breaking it in half. Here’s what we were faced with when we cleared out the mess on the our side:

BridgeNorth

The cable-locking system held up as did all the stringers. We can’t see the other end of the main cable but assume it is also okay. Just nothing there to hold it up anymore!

BridgeDamage1

Since the creek is still too high/freezing cold to cross, we can’t easily assess all the damage. But the bridge is “hanging in there” until help can arrive. Hopefully our spring won’t need any maintenance in the meantime.

Once we cut away the mess, we’ll need to dig out the old post (three feet), get another post across the creek and in place, tamped in with gravel, and then all the hardware re-attached. The decking will have to be removed so the structure can be lifted up more easily. As for the dead man, we’ll have to find out how it fared the blow.

BridgeDamage2

You can see the tree that did the deed just uphill from the bridge. Nice aim, tree!

BridgeDamage3

Ah well, it was time to replace the decking anyway. We’re looking for metal paneling of some kind (that we can afford). I’ll post photos of the fix later in the spring! Onward. P.S.: We’re getting too old for this sh*t.