Story by Larry Gomes
We had a crew of four show up for our eleventh trail work day with the goal of installing new decking on a 47' bridge. For a third week in a row, the "Silver Riders" had made some trips to bring in the remaining new lumber for the bridge, saving our crew several hours. Our thanks go out to Bob Rodrigue, Marcel Belanger, Ron LaRoche and Roger Pelletier for moving this wood.
Last week the crew had stripped off 2/3rds of the old decking so it took less than an hour to finish removing the deck. The crew then set to work installing the remaining stringers which took another hour. Then Larry did some calculations and marked off where the railing supports needed to be installed. The railing supports are 16' long deck beams while the normal deck beams are 14' long. This gives an extra foot on either side to install support boards for the railing posts. With the marks in place on the stringers, the crew worked in teams of two carrying the 100+ deck beams onto the bridge alternating the 14' and 16' beams according to the marks. By noontime, all of the deck boards were in place.
After a quick lunch, Dave Lemeire and Hunter Dagesse teamed up to start transporting some of the old lumber out of the woods. Each of them took a loaded trailer out to the end of the trail and transferred the old lumber onto a large utility trailer. They made several more trips before the utility trailer was full.
Meanwhile Leo Couture and Larry Gomes had teamed up to nail down the decking on the bridge. Leo predrilled holes in each beam and Larry followed along with a sledge hammer nailing in the 5 1/2" long spikes. In less than an hour, the deck was nailed. Leo and Larry then pre-cut all of the lumber needed to build the railings supports. At 2:30, everyone packed up and headed out of the woods since we needed to get to the recycle center before it closed. After a quick unloading of the old lumber, it was back to the clubhouse to put everything away.
Here are some pictures from Saturday:
The ATV's are lined up
waiting for the gate to be unlocked.
The new stringers are
bolted down to the steel beams and the bridge is ready for decking.
Hunter Dagesse and Leo
Couture teamed up to carry deck boards to the bridge. Dave Lemeire and
Larry Gomes made up the second
team. As one team was dropping their deck boards into place, the other team was picking up their boards so two new beams
were installed every minute.
With the deck boards in
place, Hunter and Leo used sledge hammers to make final adjustments using
strings on each side
of the bridge. The left side string was used to line up the 16' beams that hold the railings supports and the right side
string was used to line up the 14' long deck boards.
(foreground) starts pulling his load of old lumber up the trail.
Dave Lemiere (in the distance) is already
underway with his trailer.
Leo Couture uses an
electric drill powered by the generator to pre-drill holes for the deck nails.
it takes about 10 hits with a sledge hammer to drive the nails. With pre-drilling, it only takes 3 hits.
With the deck nailed down, Leo starts cutting posts for the railings.
Our thanks go out to the four volunteers for getting this bridge deck done. With all of the railing parts already prepared, it won't take more than an hour to assemble the railings to completely finish this bridge.
The rest of our next work day will be devoted to getting the old lumber out of the woods and taking apart the old bridge that was left by the side of the trail 10 years ago. If you have an ATV, we would love to have you at our next trail work day to help haul this old lumber out of the woods!