Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes
It was almost exactly one year ago that the club received a call from the WMNF that the bridge over Rocky Pond Brook was rotted. A quick inspection revealed that bugs had nested in Hemlock decking and had eaten out the inside of the decking while the outside appeared to be intact. The club surmised this happened when the wood bridge was covered with a steel bridge for a logging operation that lasted for three years, which allowed the decking to dry out and become infested.
On November 10, of last year, the old deck was removed and a temporary deck of built with scrap 2' x 8" lumber was installed to get through last winter. Click on the link below to see that story: http://www.whitemtridgerunners.com/wmrr/news/wmrr-trail%20report121110.htm
Earlier in the month, two additional steel I-beams were installed and new steel cross bracing was welded into place. So finally the day had come to install the new deck.
A crew of six volunteers drove out to the bridge site ready to get the job done. As they arrived, light snow started to fall which got everyone in the snowmobiling mood. Later the snow turned to a cold rain, but that did not dampen their enthusiasm.
The crew was made up of Mike Bussiere. Jake Pfaff, John McGovern, Justin "Odie" Ordeshook and Carl Bull. Most of this group was "volunteered" by Mike to come up and help with the promise of a "before" and "after" party at his camp up a Pike Pond. Judging from the amount of coffee this crowd purchased at Gord's Corner Store, the "before" party held on Friday night must have been a success.
A couple of other members of the Pike Pond gang were sent off to work up at Mt. Forist so Mike had brought a total of six volunteers to this trail work day. (Great job Mike!)
When the crew arrived, three of the crew went to work on installing stringers on the bridge while two other crew members started cutting wood for the bridge railings.
Once all of the stringers were installed, everyone pitched in to carry the heavy pressure treated decking (4" x 6" x 14') over to the bridge. The crew then used a string on the right side of the bridge to line up the 16-foot long decking timbers that would be used to hold the railing posts and a separate string on the left side of the bridge to line up the 14-long deck beams.
Once the decking was lined up, it was nailed into the stringers that had been bolted to the top of all four steel I-beams. Then the rail posts were installed on the longer deck boards and fastened down with timber lags. Finally the railings and top cap were nailed to the posts.
Here are some pictures from the work day:
Just as the crew arrives, it started to snow. From left to right is Mike Bussiere, Justin "Odie" Ordeshook, Jake Pfaff, John McGovern and Carl Bull.
Justin and John used Larry's trailer as a work bench and started cutting wood for the railings.
Carl, Mike and Odie drilled holes and bolted three-inch thick planks to the steel I-beams to be used as stringers.
With the stringers in place, it was time to carry the heavy decking over to the bridge. Everyone pitched in on this task.
Piece by piece, the bridge deck makes its way across the river.
Using a piece of string on
each side, the longer decking for the rail posts were lined up using one string
and the shorter
decking timbers were lined up using the string on the other side. Sledge hammers were used to move the timbers.
With the decking and
railings done, it was time to smooth out the approaches to the bridge.
Jakes dog "Ruger" poses for the picture after swimming in the cold river.
Mike says "It's done now lets get out of
here". The crew packs up so they can move on to the next job.
Here is a picture of the finished bridge looking north. With the new pressure treated deck, this bridge should last at least 20 years.
After a quick stop at the WMRR clubhouse to
pick up supplies, the crew makes repairs to the single-wide snowmobile bridge
over the Dead River behind the Notre Dame Arena in downtown Berlin. This bridge is part of the Berlin cross city trail.
The entire crew decided to head out to the middle of the bridge to "test" their work. Nobody fell in, so I guess that means its safe!
With the biggest holes in the deck repaired, the club is hoping the rest of the bridge will make it through the winter.
Much more work needs to be done to fix this bridge since it is resting on large wooden blocks that are rotting away
causing it to tip to one side.
Many thanks to Mike, Jake, John, Justin, Carl and Larry for their great work on these two bridge projects. A special thank you goes out to Mike who gave the club 3 weeks notice that a large crew from Pike Pond was going to be coming up. That helped us to plan out these projects and everything went very smoothly. Hopefully the next time we see you, it will be on sleds!