Access to our land is restricted by a small stream that’s has a drop of about a meter on one bank preventing car access. Our plan is eventually to build a good solid bridge across it so it’s easy to come and go with the car and trailer.
First as part of moving on to our land we’ve made a temporary bridge which we’re calling “Bridge 1.0” to get the trailer across initially so that we can transport wood and other building materials from the river to the land to store them in a dry place. This means we can now order wood for building the house and for building a much more solid bridge – “Bridge 2.0”.
This first temporary version was made in the weekend on the 1st and 2nd of December 2012. Basically the idea was to spend $0 on it by using scrap wood and fallen branches we found around the place, and to use four strong logs which would be positioned under the wheels of the car and trailer (the car wheels are 1.8m apart, and the trailer’s are 2.1m apart). Here’s some pics we took during construction.
We then tested taking the car across both ways before attempting the trailer. The bridge worked fine with no problems, but needs someone to get out of the car and guide the driver as it’s impossible to see if the wheels are lined up properly from in the car.
So finally we took the trailer across! we definitely won’t be taking the trailer across it again! It’ll have to wait for Bridge 2.0. We emptied everything out of the trailer first to minimise damage in the event of disaster. We couldn’t quite get the trailer lined up initially so we added a few extra logs and some bricks – some of the bits of wood started coming off, but by maintaining forward motion it was ok – toward the end it got a bit dodgy, but Beth made a quick run for it at the end and made it across!
We’ve decided to make bridge 2.0 a concrete pipe with rocks and earth poured on top of it (a Culvert) to drive over rather than an actual bridge. We’ve ordered a few meters of pipe with 30cm diameter to be delivered by the truck that will carry the materials for our house. We can still use the current bridge for walking across our other river which has a couple of parts that could do with one side of Bridge 1.0 🙂
We ordered some concrete pipes and get them to the land on the truck with the wood, but unfortunately we discovered that the pipes were not constructed from reinforced concrete as one of them broke when we rolled it off the back, so Brdige 2.0 is now on hold until we get some more pipes.
After some more research I found out that reinforcing is not standard and needs to be specifically asked for and further more is often not required for pipes of small diameter like ours. The pipe has a lot of strength for resisting force applied directly onto the round sides, but has comparatively very little strength in other directions, so dropping it off the back of the truck at an angle wasn’t a good idea. Also the pipe will require less strength the more soil is piled over it because the surrounding earth distributes the force.