The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

More low cost bridges and stepping stones

Pedestrian scale drawbridgeFor those of you who aren't following the cheap creek-crossing options discussion, I thought I'd showcase some of the interesting ideas our readers have suggested to get us across the creek.  Mom posted a cool video of a road-sized drawbridge in action, to which Roland responded with this image of a pedestrian-scale drawbridge.  Roland commented to let us know that these are quite common in the Netherlands --- who knew?!

This video of a really cheaply constructed rope swinging bridge also tickled my fancy.  Swinging bridges are quite common in our area, which suggests they might be one of the best options.  I'd thought they were beyond our price-range, but they might be feasible using rope and two by fours.

Incan rope bridgeRoland, again, peaked my curiosity with his note that the Incas have been making grass rope bridges for centuries.  Isn't the one shown here awesome?  (No, we won't be weaving straw ropes --- I just think it's cool.)

Meanwhile, Dudley suggested two quick and dirty (and cheap) options --- using a junked flatbed tractor trailer, or using a ladder as the supports for wooden planks.  The former reminded me of the idea Mark had floated a while ago about using the frame of a burned down mobile home.

Daddy and Erich suggested using telephone poles as the supports for a footbridge --- this may indeed be our cheapest and easiest option, if we found used telephone poles and were able to haul them.

Footbridge planA couple of you have suggested pontoon bridges, but these don't seem very feasible for our creek --- the water goes up and down too fast, I think, and floating trees would be a problem.

Daddy let me know that my stepping stone option isn't nuts since he'd been to a park that used three foot high piers as stepping stones along a trail.

Finally, two of you drew up bridge plans for us!  The drawing on the left is Titus's plan, using the existing telephone poles on each side of the creek as anchors.  It depends on I-beams for support.  The drawing below is Roland's tensegrity bridge.  (I'd never heard of it either!  Check out his comment for more info.)

Tensegrity bridge sketch

I don't think we're any closer to making a design decision, but we sure have enjoyed seeing all of these ideas.  Keep them coming!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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That tensegrity bridge looks interesting...

On another note, I just found another 20 acres for sale in the area I've been looking. $800/acre. The creek bottom flash floods though... and the creek runs through the middle of the property. But, I've been told by the locals that everytime there is a flash flood, there is new quality rock to be collected for anyone who wants it. Also, since it has some bottomland it has potential garden areas. I haven't seen it yet, but can't wait to get up there and have a look. As far as I can tell, it is fully timbered.

Comment by Shannon Fri Jan 29 01:35:13 2010
That property sounds interesting! As you know, I'm a sucker for creeks, and flash floods are fun. Sure do drive down property costs!
Comment by anna Fri Jan 29 08:48:45 2010

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