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Batey-Bould’s Tacoma Bridge Rebuild

Bridge Construction Video:

After the USFS had a "Batey-Bould Off-Road Motorcycle Trail System Assessment" done, the USFS had decided to give a CLOSURE ORDER of the trail system because of the liability and sustainability issues identified in the assessment.  The number one reason for the closure order where the bridges that had completely failed and were dangerous to cross.

However, before the shutdown order was to be enforced, PANTRA agreed to rebuild the bridges that have failed in exchange for lifting the closure order.  We also agreed to help develop a long term maintenance plan for the Batey-Bould trail system.

After several months of planning, multiple meetings with the USFS, walk-in site evaluations, getting plans drawn up, material acquired, volunteers organized, and meals planned for the volunteers,  August 12th & 13th were the dates set for rebuilding the first of several failed bridges in the Batey-Bould system.

The Forestry service tagged three trees that were allowed to be used as Stringers (Large, 30ft. long logs that span the creek which the planks are screwed to).  A few of the PANTRA members had cut, scraped and winched the logs in place the weekend before the build.

The weekend of the bridge build, the PANTRA members who signed up to help had setup camp on Tacoma Creek to meet and form a plan to take the donated wood from Vaagen Bros. into the build site which was approx. 6 miles from the camp and a ½ mile hike into the bridge location.

The 3x8”x10ft, wood planks were heavier than expected and with everyone’s help, including some volunteer scouts, they were able to make quick use of the time and deliver all the material to the site.  The first group that arrived had started digging and setting the bridge base in place which included two 7ft. long logs on each side of the creek that would run perpendicular to the stringers.  They were cut and staked in place with three, 3ft. long rods.  The bases had to be cut flat on top before the stringers could be set in place.

during the digging and setting of the bases, everyone else was removing the old bridge logs and debris by carrying/winching them up into a trail that was to be blocked off per the request of the Forestry service.

Once the bases were set and checked to be parallel from each other, the stringers were marked with string line so the end could be cut to provide a mating flat spot that would rest on the bases.  After the stringers were cut and set in place, they were checked to fit within 5ft at the ends so the top planks would cover, then they were drilled and screwed to the bases.

The plans called for a 3” flat surface on the top of the stringers which was string lined/marked and cut with a saw.  The end of the stringers were boarded with two 3x8” boards to keep the dirt from resting on the end of the stringers.  The flat surface on top of the stringers would provide the flat area for the top planks to rest.  The top planks were cut to 5ft and pre drilled with six holes, the planks were put on top and spaced precisely from each other.

After the planking was done the ends of the bridge were filled with large rocks to provide a ramp for crossing the bridge.  While the rock and dirt was placed, the top rails were cut and placed on the outer top edge of the bridge.

After we completed Batey-Bould's Tacoma Creek bridge, we spent the next day carrying and dragging in the lumber to stage the next two bridges in the trail system that we are planning on rebuilding next.

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